Project HOPE International (PHI) based in Washington, DC, works in Southeast Asia and the United States to build bridges between NGO practitioners, donors, professionals, and policy makers to better inform, understand, and meet the needs of trafficked persons and their support networks through education, coordination, and advocacy.
PHI developed from the passion of its founding members in addressing widespread child exploitation in Southeast Asia. Dedicated individuals were drawn together through their mutual commitment to these issues and formed PHI in 1999. Members had already been actively engaged in independently combating child exploitation in the region, either through non profit work, academic research, or teaching.
PHI is deeply committed to developing Anti-trafficking Leadership, Scholarship & Intercultural Exchange. PHI believes the success of the anti-trafficking movement depends on educated, informed, and proactive current and future leaders. Therefore, PHI provides an intensive summer program to immerse students in the complexities of this issue and encourages critical thinking and scholarship. In 2001, PHI instituted a summer intern program for advanced undergraduate and graduate students to intern, study human trafficking, and find ways to assist the growing global anti-trafficking movement personally and professionally.
Each year, students undergo a rigorous application process that typically includes one-on-one interviews, written recommendations, a personal statement and resume prior to consideration. This 4–6 week program consists of two elective education experiences: intensive academic study and an internship. As a part of this program, students travel to Thailand and visit numerous government-run and private shelters which provide services to victims of trafficking from all over the Mekong sub-region: Cambodia, Laos, Burma, and the Yunnan Province of China. Participants gain vital firsthand knowledge of anti-trafficking strategies and unwritten "best practices," a deeper understanding of systemic causes of trafficking, and an appreciation of challenges in the anti-trafficking movement by interning or volunteering with NGOs and networking to build solidarity among current and future leaders in the movement.
Students also explore connections between HIV/AIDS and human trafficking with leading researchers in the field and hear from the organizers themselves about alternative economic models for trafficked persons in recovery and those at risk. Upon successful completion of the program, students have the opportunity to contribute new knowledge to the anti-trafficking debate by writing and publishing their research findings and synthesizing reports, books, and scholarly articles assigned prior to the trip. PHI believes that original research, informed by the changing realities on the ground, is critically important to the advancement of the anti-trafficking movement. Therefore, PHI disseminates research by conference presentation and publication. This program has been financed by grants from the Rockefeller Foundation, private donors and students themselves. Upon their return, students are committed to fundraise and write grant proposals for PHI after obtaining training from the Foundation Center, Washington, DC. Many also explore opportunities with other related organizations. Of the 43 students who have successfully completed this program, most are employed in human rights fields today.
1. Anti-trafficking Education and Advocacy
2. Annual Summer Study Program in Thailand
3. Internships, Mentoring, and Field Work
Technical assistance (research, computer training, copy editing, etc)
4. Special Projects
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