Just over two months ago I threw myself headfirst into Urban Light. My first working day was something out of the ordinary. Well first of all it wasn’t even a day, but a night, and it took place at one of the bars where Urban Light is regularly doing outreach. We were having an onsite clinic there, and I was the medical doctor. The room I used as my examination room was situated on the second floor, above the bar, where normally sexual services are provided. The furnishings in the room were easily counted; an AC unit, a dimmed lamp, a bed, a toilet paper roll and a trash bin.
Two years ago in mid-2013, Love146, a world leader in the anti-human trafficking movement, partnered with Urban Light to conduct one of Thailand’s first studies evaluating the vulnerabilities and exploitation of young men and teenagers working in the red light districts of Chiang Mai. I had just stepped into my volunteer role at Urban Light and was eager to contribute my analytical skills and scientific research background to help out in anyway I could.
Kao Klang (per child protection policy standards a fake name has been used here to protect the identity of our beneficiary) and I arrived at Urban Light at nearly the same time and immediately hit it off. The connection was simple – Kao Klang wanted to learn and I wanted to teach. The rest of the Urban Light staff also quickly took to Kao Klang, whose shy and gentle demeanor made him easy to love. He was one of the younger boys and had no family.