SOMPOP JANTRAKA

COUNTRY

Thailand

ORGANIZATION

Development and Education Programme for Daughters and Communities Centre in the Greater Mekong Sub-Region (DEPDC/GMS)

CAUSE

Child Prostitution

A street urchin who was fortunate to receive a university education, Sompop Jantraka became, after graduation, a tour guide and research assistant. In both his growing up years and working life, he was no stranger to the tribulations of poverty. However, none stood out as strongly for him as parents selling off their own flesh and blood as sex workers. His first encounter with such a parent jolted him into action.

Pooling together his personal resources and funding from a Japanese foundation, Sompop started a small shelter for 19 girls, a safe haven where they could continue to pursue their education and work towards a better life instead of entering the sex trade. Over time, the nonprofit organization grew in scope and size in its mission of freeing the children of the Mekong basin from the clutches of the prostitution industry.

Sompop’s work has been riddled with stumbling blocks. But he has never wavered because he knows that one moment lost is one daughter trapped in the unforgiving cycle of the sex trade.

BRIEF FACTS


SOMPOP JANTRAKA

1957

Born in Surathanee Province to Thai laborers

1984

Graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and International Relations, Faculty of Social Sciences, Chiang Mai University, Thailand

1985

Tour Guide, Alternative Tours of Thailand (until 1987)

1986

Research Assistant, Chiang Mai University, Thamasaat University, Bangkok and Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok. Resident Musician and Music Teacher “Moo Ban Dek” Foundation for Children

1987

Married high school friend Dusadee Jantraka

1988

Became research assistant with Japanese journalist Michiho Inagaki researching the problem of prostitution in Thailand Worked for the International Labour Organisation /International Program for the Elimination of Child Labour as a researcher on child sex workers and child labor

1989

Founder and Executive Director, Development and Education Programme for Daughters And Communities, DEPDC (until 2009)

2009

Started pilot projects in the Mekong region and focused on expansion plans for DEPDC

2010

Expanded DEPDC to DEPDC/GMS in the Greater Mekong Subregion

2011

Executive Director of DEPDC/GMS

2014

Founder and Advisory Board Secretary DEPDC/GMS

 

AWARDS & RECOGNITION

1994

TIME Magazine—Asian Hero of the Year

Ashoka Fellow

Thai Prime Minister’s Social Worker Award

1996

Readers’ Digest’s “Hero for Today”

2008

University of Michigan’s Raoule Wallenberg Medal

2013

World’s Children’s Prize Honorary Award