In March 2004, Give2Asia.org, founded by The Asia Foundation to promote philanthropy to Asia, announced the launch of the first comprehensive women’s shelter and counseling center for victims of violence and trafficking in Laos and provide operational funding for its initial year of operations. During this first year, it is projected the center will house 70 women and girls, provide in-person counseling to 80-100 victims, and respond to approximately 100 cases through the counseling hotline. The Lao government has donated the land and donors have provided funds for the training of the center’s counselors and advisors. The Asia Foundation now seeks funds to support the construction and operation of the new facility.
An assessment survey of violence against women conducted by the Lao Women’s Union (LWU) and The Asia Foundation recently revealed that due to lack of knowledge about their rights, Lao women, especially ethnic minorities, suffer from high levels of violence in both domestic and public spheres. The same survey highlights a report by the civil court that spousal violence has become a major cause of divorce.
Lao women have also become frequent victims of trafficking. Labor migration from Laos to Thailand is very likely to increase as strong economic, geographic dynamics continue to push men, women and children out of their communities to seek better opportunities.
From 2001 to 2003 there were 222 trafficked women and girls who were returned by officials from Thailand. 74% of those who returned were under the age of 17 years. Among these returnees, only 47 were able to receive extremely brief counseling from the Lao Women’s Union before they were sent back to their homes. Weak social re-integration is a problem.
Please see pdf file below for more information and how you can contribute to the project.
The U.S. Department of State has created a shelter best practices fact sheet.
To access the fact sheet: http://www.state.gov/g/tip/rls/30069.htm
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