At-risk girls and survivors of trafficking in Thailand

Crossing the border

When discussing gender issues in Thailand, many think immediately of sex trafficking, which has plagued the country for decades. Few would think to look to the Thailand-Myanmar border; yet today 150,000 Burmese refugees live in camps on the border, some of whom since the camps opened 25 years ago.

These refugees, mainly women and young girls, are often excluded from education and employment and, like most Thai women in rural areas, are also at risk of being trafficked. This exclusion, perpetuated over generations, is likely to affect their daughters and granddaughters too.

Our work

Lensational’s ambassador Patricia Lois Nuss traveled from Chiang Mai, the traditional arts hub in Thailand, to meet with Daughters Rising, an organisation working to prevent trafficking of at-risk girls through education and job training. Patricia worked together with a pilot group of seven women and girls to train them with basic photography and give them the opportunity to further improve their skills. The women could then take photographs of aspects of their lives typically not covered by outsiders.


Photographer in portrait : Nukul

Nukul is from Pong Lom Rang, a Karen village in the mountainous Mae Wang district of northern Thailand. Nukul’s husband works as a silversmith in Mae Jam while Nukul also works away, at The Chai Lai Orchid, in order to provide a better life for their son and family. She travels home to her native village as often as she can to visit her son Nu Nu and her family. Nukul’s experience with ‘Lensational’ gave her the opportunity to take a camera back to her village and take shots of her son and the world around her through her eyes. Through the lens she discovered a love of the colours cobalt blue, white and black and learnt how to use various stylistic filters, such as Tilt-Shift, which she is now able to select critically when approaching her subjects. Nukul also developed an interest in early morning and late evening light.

Beyond the programme

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