The COVID-19 crisis has highlighted another global epidemic: child sexual abuse and online exploitation. With both offenders and children at home using the internet, casework has been soaring. The impact of these crimes against children is impossible to overstate. Depression and suicide are common and on the rise. This project will provide trauma-informed counseling, as well as other victim support such as home visits and family therapy through the Child Advocacy Center in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Without help, many child victims in Thailand are without hope. "The incident caused me to become very stressed and I became depressed and thought of suicide. It doesn't go away. It feels like I'm dead and can't forget" (translated from a HUG client statement, April 2020). For victims of sexual crimes via the internet, the devastation is compounded by ongoing exposure as the material circulates online around the world. Parents of the abused also struggle to cope with guilt and powerlessness.
This project will provide trauma-informed counseling to child victims (under 18 years old) of sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, and/or sex trafficking. Therapy methods include talk, play, art, and storytelling. The HUG Project serves clients (who have been victimized both online and in person) through the Child Advocacy Center in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Additional support services include educational support, legal assistance, shelter placement, home visits, and family therapy.
In 2019, the HUG team assisted 36 young people in the process of moving from victim to survivor and beyond. From rescue to recovery, we seek not only to see victims removed from immediate physical and psychological danger, but also to empower them toward healthy, independent adulthood. Much more than "lack of despair", our goal is for each child survivor to experience lasting strength, hope, and resilience. "I will fight for my future." - 14-year-old HUG client.
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