A leader emerges

Outstanding Thai youth helps protect others from human trafficking

Even though he’s just turned 19, Benz has been the “man of his house” for many years.

A childhood filled with hardship has moulded him into a mature and highly motivated young man, who’s chosen to do all he can to protect children in his community.

Benz is the leader of a youth club helping to prevent human trafficking in his hometown in northern Thailand, which is a common transit and destination point for illegal migration.

Thanks to generous StarKids donations from Jetstar customers, the End Trafficking in Persons Project has been able to support 19 youth clubs across six locations in Thailand. These clubs are spearheading trafficking prevention through innovative peer-to-peer education campaigns.

Benz’s own childhood helps to explain his dedication. His father left the family when he was just four and his mother had to work two jobs to make ends meet. “I remember moving from one house to the next according to what mum can afford. I grew up the hard way,” Benz recalled.

To help his mum, Benz has worked nights and weekends for many years to bring in extra income, but all the while staying focused on his studies.

From cleaning floors in the local marketplace, to collecting plastic bottles and selling snacks at school, Benz helped to secure his family’s survival. His hard work has paid off and he’s now looking forward to starting university.

“A lot of times, I see him … laying on the floor with all the papers about child protection and human trafficking,” explains his mother Siripond.

“I’m proud of him … I know he’s doing social service.”