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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Fundraiser in Regina to free children from horrors of sex trafficking

By Pamela Cowan, Leader-Post May 26, 2011 5:38 PM REGINA -- Since Dr. Al Purvis and his wife Terry began living in Thailand 30 years ago, they have seen the ongoing horrors of human sex trafficking there and in Cambodia.

Based in Sriracha, Thailand, the couple have set up churches in nine Asian nations under the banner of Victory Churches International.

Purvis said finding a solution to the sex trade is a delicate process.

“You can take girls out one end and new ones will just come in the other end,” he said. “These operations aren’t going to stop just because some of the prostitutes get rescued.”

Purvis will speak at an international feast being held Friday night at Regina Victory Church. The event is being held in partnership with Not4Sale, an organization that raises funds to establish safe houses for children who are exploited in the sex industry in Thailand and Cambodia.

“Our approach is if we can plant churches in there along with these social operations, we can give the people some hope, give them some reason to live,” Purvis said. “It definitely takes time ... The hope is really to train the next generation who will rise up as leaders.”

Poverty is rampant in Cambodia which is why Purvis believes more children are sold into that country’s sex trade than in Thailand.

“You have mothers who will sell their daughters or allow their children to go into prostitution just to survive,” Purvis said of the sex trade in Cambodia.

He described Thailand’s sex business as “flashy and slick” and generally prostitutes aren’t young children forced to work in the trade.

“There’s all the nightclubs and cabarets and it’s common everywhere,” Purvis said. “A lot of families think, ‘Here’s our opportunity.’ ”

In Pattaya, 20 kilometres south of where he and Terry live, a beach is divided into sections.

“The first section is guys looking for girls, the next section one would be pedophiles, the next one would be guys looking for guys,” Purvis said. “It’s blatant ... The pimps will pull into a village in rural Thailand and say, ‘We have an opportunity for your daughters to go to work in Bangkok.’ They’ll take them on the understanding that they’re going to get a job and then they’ll end up as prostitutes.”

He said human sex trafficking can be heartbreaking unless you think long-term.

“In the short term, you do what you can to save lives,” Purvis said.

He and his wife added to their family by rescuing orphans of the Vietnam War from refugee camps.

“These kids were ripe for the prostitution thing,” Purvis said. “We have four of our own and another 27 that we have legal custody of in Thailand. Some of them we got when they were newborns, some were up to six years old.”

Only two children remain in the Purvis home.

“They have grown up and are such tremendous men and women. They’re working in jobs and are leaders of society. It’s a long-term job, but the results are really rewarding.”

The feast at Regina Victory Church begins at 6 p.m. The $30 tickets can be reserved by calling 545-7885 or on the website (www.reginavictory.com).

pcowan@leaderpost.com
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Philippines 'ready to help' in Thai-Cambodian row

BANGKOK — Philippine President Benigno Aquino said his country was prepared to step in to help resolve a bitter Thai-Cambodian border row, during a visit to Bangkok on Thursday.

Aquino said that the Philippines was ready to send observers to help efforts to cool the dispute, which erupted into deadly clashes between the neighbours last month, if they were needed.

"If both sides are interested, the Philippines is ready to help," he told reporters following a meeting with Thailand's leader Abhisit Vejjajiva.

The fighting, which left 18 dead and temporarily displaced 85,000, dominated the annual summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) this month, and failure to find a resolution raised doubts over the effectiveness of regional diplomacy.

Tensions between Thailand and Cambodia centre on a small patch of land surrounding the 11th century Preah Vihear temple on their shared border, although the most recent clashes were about 150 km (90 miles) further west.

The relationship between the neighbours has been strained since Preah Vihear was granted UN World Heritage status in July 2008.

Thailand and Cambodia agreed in February to accept Indonesian military observers on the border but the initiative remains on ice due to Thai demands that Cambodia first pull troops out of the temple.

Aquino, who arrived in Thailand Thursday afternoon, is expected to meet members of the Filipino community in Bangkok before departing for Manila on Friday afternoon.
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Cambodia Sees Week of Chinese Beneficence

China donated 50,000 uniforms to Cambodia’s armed forces on Thursday, adding to a week of Chinese donations and agreements and coinciding with peacekeeping training for Cambodian personnel with US forces.

Zhang Jianlin, military attaché for the Chinese Embassy in Phnom Penh, handed the uniforms over to Sun Samnang, director general of logistics for the Cambodian Ministry of Defense, in a ceremony at the Phnom Penh military airbase.

The donation included 50,000 uniforms, along with accompanying hats, shoes and belts and adds to a donation of 257 military trucks a year ago.

“The Chinese Defense Ministry hopes that the uniforms will help relieve a shortage in the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces, and the donation also reflects the honest and good cooperation between the Chinese and Cambodian armies,” Zhang said.

Moeung Samphan, secretary of state for Cambodian Defense Ministry, who attended the ceremony, said the armed forces would have use of the uniforms, “fulfilling a shortage for our soldiers.”

On Wednesday Chinese Ambassador Pan Guangxue donated 200 Chinese-language books to the Confucius Institute at the Royal Academy of Cambodia. And on Tuesday, Commerce Minister Cham Prasidh signed a trade agreement with the president of the Chinese Chamber of International Commerce, Wan Jifei.

Wan said Tuesday he hoped the two countries would reach bilateral trade volume of $2.5 billion in 2012.

Meanwhile, Cambodian peacekeeping troops are expected to end training with US personnel on Friday.
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Cambodia says "no" to GBC meeting unless "package solution" complied

PHNOM PENH, May 26 (Xinhua) -- Cambodian Defense Ministry on Thursday evening rejected media reports that "Cambodia agrees to host General Border Committee (GBC) meeting with Thailand."

The rejection was made after Thai media reported that Gen Prawit Wongsuwan, Thai defense minister, said Thursday the Thai- Cambodian GBC meeting will be held in Cambodia after an Indonesian Survey Team arrives at the Thai-Cambodian disputed border near the Preah Vihear temple.

"Cambodia is now ready to hold 8th GBC meeting," the Bangkok Post online newspaper quoted Prawit as saying. "Gen. Tea Banh has already informed me that GBC will certainly be arranged in Cambodia."

"Cambodian defense ministry absolutely rejected this fabricated information by Thai Defense Minister Gen. Prawit Wongsuwan," said a Defense Ministry's statement on Thursday evening.

"This information is contradicted to the spirit of the package solution which Cambodian, Thai and Indonesia foreign ministers agreed on May 9 in Jakarta, Indonesia," it said.

The statement added that the package solution has already pointed out the procedures for the solution.

"So the first and indispensable implementation is: Thailand must respond positively to the package solution," it said. "It is absolutely unacceptable to act otherwise and inconsistent with the package solution."

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) awarded Preah Vihear temple to Cambodia in 1962 and the temple was enlisted as a World Heritage Site on July 7, 2008.

The border conflict between Cambodia and Thailand occurred just a week after the enlistment as Thailand claims the ownership of 4. 6 square kilometers (1.8 square miles) of scrub next to the temple.

Since then, both sides have built up military forces along the border and periodic clashes have happened, resulting in the deaths of troops and civilians on both sides.

The two sides agreed to accept Indonesian observers to monitor a ceasefire on their respective border side on Feb. 22 at the ASEAN foreign ministers meeting in Jakarta, but the deployment was always delayed because Thailand demanded that Cambodian soldiers and locals be withdrawn from the disputed area of 4.6 sq km near the temple first.
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ASEAN legislators, experts meet in Cambodia for anti-drug efforts

PHNOM PENH (Xinhua) - Cambodia on Thursday hosted the 8th meeting of ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Fact Finding Committee (AIFOCOM) to combat drug menace.

The meeting was attended by ASEAN's parliamentarians, representatives of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, and ASEAN senior officials on drugs matters.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Heng Samrin, President of Cambodian National Assembly, said the meeting was very significant to find strategic ways and effective resolutions to prevent, manage and combat drug menace in the region.

"Currently, illicit drugs are posing the main common concern over our region," he said. "Therefore, a joint effort among ASEAN legislators and law practitioners is indispensable to fight the drug menace in order to attain the ASEAN's vision: a drug-free ASEAN community by 2015."

The two-day meeting would discuss and adopt the draft resolution on the Harmonization of Illegal Drug Laws on Capture and Seizure of Assets used in or Possessed from Drug Related Cases; the control of Reactants and Precursors and Demand Reduction Interventions, according to the meeting's programs.

Also, it would pass the draft resolution on the establishment of ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Working Group to Combat the Drug Menace.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
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