The Grey Man and the Akhas - anti-trafficking in Thailand?
Reproduced with the kind permission of www.andrew-drummond.com
Andrew Drummond is a British independent journalist and occasional television documentary maker based out of Bangkok and covering Thailand and South East Asia.
Andrew has recently published this fascinating video on 'YouTube.com', exposing the activities of 'The Grey Man’, an Australian registered charity claiming to work on anti-trafficking.
You can also read the full story on Andrew Drummond's website here.
'The Grey Man' boasts it comprises ex-Special Forces men and police officers announced that its ‘operatives’ had rescued 21 children – 13 boys and 8 girls - and saved them from certain slavery and sexual exploitation.
In its press release ‘The Grey Man’ said: “Most of the girls and some of the boys would have ended up in the sex industry in Bangkok and Pattaya.
‘Without our help the rest would have been most likely trafficked for labour in sweatshops. Now they have a chance.”
However, Andrew's investigation shows shows that not only were these very same children never taken to safe housing, and they were going to school as they normally do.
Their uniforms, books, and lunches were being paid for out of a Thai Government fund for disadvantaged children.
The Co-ordination Centre for the Protection of Women and Children’s Rights’ issued a statement on December 7th saying that the rescue was a scam.
“A thorough investigation by Thai government and non-government agencies has revealed that no such rescue mission ever took place. Extensive interviews of the children themselves, their teachers and village leaders took place and no verification could be provided of any human trafficking incident.
They just took pictures of poor children
“Indeed all the children are happily at home with their parents; they never left their homes. All that happened is that several Westerners came into the village and asked to take pictures of poor children in order to find assistance for transport to school.
“Needless to say the village community and the children themselves are very upset at having been represented as a village providing sex workers.
“The Coordination Centre for Protection of Child and Women Rights feels it is very wrong to exploit Thai children and the Australian public in this way to solicit funds on false premises. We feel the funds raised by the generosity of the Australian people in response to this hoax rescue mission should be immediately returned and the Australian media should correct their false reports.”