The role of ESL teaching in repatriating victims of human trafficking in Thailand: a case study
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The role and influence of education goes far beyond the classroom. Education also plays an important role in the social, cultural and economic development of a nation. This notion of using education as a means of empowerment was highlighted by Brazilian educator, Paulo Friere, in his volume Pedagogy of the Oppressed. In this sociolinguistic, ethnographic research paper, the basic assumption of Friere's work will be applied to an English language program developed by a non-government organisation in northern Thailand. The NGO, The New Life Center, opened in 1987 and operates under a Christian ethos. It offers an English language program as part of a holistic approach to helping young girls from Myanmar who have been trafficked to Thailand as part of a transnational sex trade. It will be argued that teaching English as a second/foreign language is used as a tool for repatriating girls who have been trafficked to northern Thailand from Myanmar. It will also be argued that learning English as a foreign language, has for these victims of human trafficking, been an empowering process and has also provided the impetus and means by which cycles of poverty and human trafficking may even be broken in the future. Although this paper will examine a mere microcosm of this vast area of sociolinguistic research, it must be acknowledged that even very specific case studies can add significant contributions to international education research and its consequences. The data in this paper has been collected from extensive field work with victims of human trafficking in northern Thailand and has involved data collecting techniques such as observation, interviewing and itinerant ethnography.
Proceedings from the International Education - A Matter of Heart conference
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