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Asia Foundation and Philanthropist Mr. Chong-Moon Lee Launch New Projects to Combat Human Trafficking in Cambodia and Laos

San Francisco, June 25, 2012 — The Asia Foundation today announced a $100,000 grant from trustee emeritus and noted philanthropist, Mr. Chong-Moon Lee, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer at AmBex Venture Group, to support two one-year pilot projects to combat human trafficking in Cambodia and Laos. The donation comes at a critical time for Cambodia and Laos, whose populations of women and youth are increasingly at risk for trafficking and exploitation. Through Mr. Lee’s generous support, the Foundation and its network of local government ministries and local NGOs will implement public awareness campaigns to educate women and girls about trafficking. In Cambodia, the program will partner with an established youth peer network; in Laos, vocational training scholarships will be provided to victims and women and girls who are at risk of trafficking.

“I am a firm believer that public awareness along with access to education and economic opportunities for young minds will address the root causes of human trafficking, an increasingly serious issue today,” said Mr. Chong-Moon Lee. “At greatest risk to trafficking are rural, uneducated Cambodian and Laotian youth, particularly women and girls, who are driven to migrate because of poverty and landlessness in their home communities.  I am certain that The Asia Foundation, through its deep local presence on the ground and innovative outreach programs will alter the lives of many young citizens.”

The one-year Cambodia project will bring together The Asia Foundation’s technical expertise on safe migration and trafficking with the established network and youth club infrastructure of local NGO partner, The Youth Council of Cambodia (YCC). The program will disseminate vital information to individuals and communities vulnerable to trafficking in two provinces facing high incidence of migration and vulnerability to trafficking, Prey Veng and Siem Reap.

The 18-month program in Laos will feature a two-pronged prevention strategy: implement a public awareness campaign to educate women and girls about trafficking and provide vocational training scholarships to victims and women and girls who are at risk of trafficking.  Working through the Information/Press Media Department of the Lao Women’s Union (LWU), The Asia Foundation will sponsor a mass media campaign.  In addition, the Foundation will implement a vocational scholarship program that will enable at least 25 women to attend a four to six month formal training program at the Korea-Lao Vocational Training Center, a leading training organization in Vientiane that focuses on the most strategic vocations for employment in Laos.

“On behalf of our partners and program recipients in Cambodia and Laos, we are grateful for this generous support from Mr. Chong-Moon Lee,” said David D. Arnold, President of The Asia Foundation. “Mr. Lee’s deep commitment to the critical work we do will significantly impact the lives of many at-risk Cambodia and Laotian youths, their families, and communities. If successful, these two projects can produce incredible benefits for generations to come.”

The Asia Foundation has been a recognized leader in the fight against human trafficking in Asia for more than 15 years, as part of its mission to create a peaceful, prosperous, just, and open Asia-Pacific. With offices in numerous trafficking source and destination countries, the Foundation implements country-specific programs and regional initiatives to reduce trafficking and aid its victims.

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