Can architectural design help prevent human trafficking in poverty-stricken Cambodia?
Cambodia has a considerable problem with human trafficking as a result of widespread poverty. Cross-border and internal trafficking have become shockingly commonplace and Cambodia is now recognised as a country of origin, transit and destination for this human rights violation.
Poverty is prevalent in Cambodia and many parents find themselves in a position where well-versed traffickers will approach them with monetary offers and promises of better, more secure lives for their children. Once the children have been taken by traffickers, they are sold into prostitution or forced to beg or sell on the streets. Adults are also at risk as men and women are trafficked for labour and sexual exploitation.
A new initiative between Cundall and Raw Impact looks to provide an escape for the thousands of children and adults that are coerced into forced labour and prostitution every year. Headed by Alistair Coulstock, a Principal at Cundall, and Troy Roberts, Founder of non-profit organisation Raw Impact, the scheme looks to bring together students, architects, engineers, academics, and construction professionals to forge safe living environments for children living in poverty in Cambodia.
It is hoped that these new residences will ease pressure on the parents of at-risk children, providing safe and stable homes for poverty-stricken families.
Coulstock explains: “Within minutes of speaking with Troy, I realised we were on to something great and the ‘Build Against The Traffick’ concept was born. Since that phone call everything has been falling into place. I’m a big believer in synchronicity, and subsequently, people have been entering my life who fit perfectly with this project.”
The ‘Build Against The Traffick’ scheme will launch in July with students from the University of New South Wales (UNSW) partnering with architects to conceptualise residential units for rural Cambodian families. These homes will incorporate passive and active energy with sustainable solutions and the shortlisted designs will then be constructed by professional teams and the students themselves. Funding is being sought alongside donations in tools and apparel.
Roberts furthers: “We want to bring together a movement of people that will make a real impact on the world, and connect them with a cause that inspires them the most. And it’s not just about money. We want them to bring their time, their ideas and their skills to the fight against some of the greatest injustices in the world today. And we truly believe that together we can make a real impact for very powerful change.”
The base of the project will be in Kompong Thamor, where the teams will stay with a local family for one night and provide a meal for them at the equivalent of $1 per person. Trips to the Khmer Rouge Killing Fields and S21 Torture School are also part of the programme to ensure that both students and professionals fully comprehend Cambodia’s history before they put pen to paper.
If you would like to get involved, please contact Alistair Coulstock email@example.com or Troy Roberts firstname.lastname@example.org