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.