Katrina Sriranpong is a Vancouver-based former refugee lawyer, Thai philanthropist, and an active supporter of organizations which aid underprivileged children and refugees from conflict regions.  She has strived towards positive change on issues such as anti-human trafficking, especially of children, providing humanitarian aid for refugees and caring for orphans requiring medical treatment.    

Some of the organizations that align with Sriranpong’s dedication to assisting children are UNICEF, War Child, Save the Children, and Operation Underground Railroad, all of which receive aid from Sriranpong.  Striving to raise awareness on issues facing refugees and marginalized children, Sriranpong assists some of these non-profit organizations in expanding their sources of funding.  

Before becoming a lawyer, Katrina Sriranpong attended the University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University. She also studied in England at the University of Leicester and Oxford University. After she finished school, Sriranpong spent many years helping refugees settle in Canada from conflict regions as well as victims of human trafficking.  As a former lawyer, philanthropist, and busy mother, she has remained dedicated to promoting the causes she cares deeply about.   

Katrina Sriranpong Encourages Support of War Child and Operation Underground Railroad    

A report by Save the Children detailed that the number of children living in countries facing conflict grew 20% in 2020 to just under 200 million from the 162 million recorded only a year prior. The amount of children in dangerous living conditions has not been this high since 2008, where the number reached a record at 208 million. 

Many children live near armed groups and government forces that recruit and utilize children as soldiers, as reported in the “Stop the War on Children: A Crisis of Recruitment.” Approximately 337 million children live in these inhumane conditions, putting them in danger of being exploited and forcefully recruited to fight. Conflicts in Afghanistan, Nigeria, Yemen and Mozambique have contributed to the number of at risk children, and the number is expected to rise as more political conflict unfolds across the world.   

However, war and conflict are not the only issues that have negatively affected children.  Human-trafficking, especially of children, is on the rise due to the vulnerability some families face during the pandemic, and also because of political conflict. As reported by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), 500,000 human trafficking victims were detected in 2018, but numbers are predicted to be much higher considering the secretive nature of the crime. The UNODC report suggests that for every 10 victims “detected globally in 2018, about five were adult women and two were young girls,” while 15% of human trafficking victims were young boys. 

Katrina Sriranpong says that, “Organizations such as War Child and Operation Underground Railroad continue their fight to protect children from war, violence, and exploitation.”     

War Child

Founded in 1999 by Dr. Samantha Nutt, War Child has worked tirelessly for over 20 years to help children and their families recover from the effects of war. War Child’s mission is to minimize the losses of children who suffer in war, provide access to education, give legal support, and help families escape poverty. 

War Child is dedicated to hiring local staff and understanding local community needs, history and culture to provide the best possible long-term solutions. The organization focuses on children to give them the best possible opportunity to be independent adults.  

Dr. Samantha Nutt stated that “People are good at reacting to emergency situations.  But, there’s a tendency to move onto the ‘next big crisis” when issues are less immediate.”  

In the past 20 years, War Child has grown significantly and now reaches over 600,000 people annually worldwide.  In Afghanistan, War Child has provided education, economic, and other support to Afghan families in need.  They have created safe spaces for children to receive early childhood education.  In the Democratic Republic of Congo, War Child has organized radio-based education for children who cannot safely attend school due to conflict.  In South Sudan, War Child has created initiatives to train women and girls in agriculture and business training so they can grow to become leaders in food production and marketing.  In Uganda, War Child provides “catch-up” education for refugee children to make it possible for them to return to the classroom.  They also provide legal representation for survivors of sexual exploitation.  

Please visit War Child to learn more about how you can help.   

Operation Underground Railroad

Striving towards a similar goal, Operation Underground Railroad (O.U.R.) exists to combat human trafficking and child sexual exploitation. O.U.R.’s goal is to develop strong relationships with law enforcement agencies across the globe to assist in local efforts against human trafficking and sexual exploitation. 

O.U.R. maintains offices in 40 countries, including the U.S.A., Thailand, and Ukraine.  O.U.R. recognizes that there is an increased risk of trafficking during times of conflict due to economic pressures, breakdown of societal structures, forced displacement of people, the need for work, and obstacles to resources and support.   

In Ukraine, O.U.R. supported a resource center for children as a refuge against the war.  A resource center was opened by a few brave Ukrainians who returned to Ukraine early in the war to provide food and shelter for children.  However, due to limited resources, they were only able to open for a few days per week.  As such, O.U.R. provided assistance by creating a makeshift bomb-shelter and provided meals, which allowed the center to expand its reach from assisting only 80 children to caring for 300 children.  

O.U.R. is also providing training to social workers and resource centers on how to identify signs of human trafficking in order to prevent common trafficking schemes during the war.   

If you are interested in learning more and helping to combat modern-day slavery, please visit O.U.R.