be the light

Urban Light has been able to provide support and aid

to over 5,000 vulnerable young men since 2010.


be the light

Urban Light has been able to provide support and aid

to over 5,000 vulnerable young men since 2010.

The root cause



The Reality

According to the United Nations, there are over 27 million modern-day slaves in the world. These numbers are often under-reported but Urban Light exists to change that. The stories of these young men can no longer be neglected. Many of them are forced to move from the hill-tribe villages of Chiang Mai into the night life of the red light district. In order to find work and provide for their families, many fall victim to a harsh life stuck in the sex trafficking system.

Urban Light is one of the only organizations of their kind to specifically focus on helping young men and providing an outlet for safety, health and renewal. Most people in Thailand and around the world don't want to acknowledge the existence of male sex trafficking and exploitation – but Urban Light is here to educate, advocate and bring attention to the dark realities these young men face.


Estimate of population in human trafficking

"If the cries of those who are enslaved around the world today were an earthquake, then the tremors would be felt in every single nation on the continent on every continent simultaneously."

-John Kerry, Former Secretary of State


Eight Pillars

Eight Pillars


Urban Light Youth Center

The Urban Light Youth Center hosts an array of health, educational, creative and recreational activities for Chiang Mai's most at-risk and vulnerable males. Victims of sex trafficking and various forms of exploitation can access services and support in a safe drug and alcohol-free environment. 



Male participants will receive access to comprehensive health services including health education and awareness surrounding HIV/STI's, teen pregnancy and safe-sex practices. UL participants will receive free + confidential HIV/STI testing and treatment; accompanied medical check-ups with local hospitals; access to an on-site Doctor for emergency health consultations and quarterly on-site clinics. 



The UL Employment programs assist out-of-school participants in building the necessary skills to obtain and retain employment through a holistic approach of job readiness and life skills training, job placement services, computer instruction, and preparation to live a life beyond the red light district.



The UL Transitional Housing Program (ULTHP) empowers UL participants to live independently while maintaining access to a supportive UL community. ULTHP participants will maintain employment, secure stable housing, and learn to access community resources provided by the UL staff. The ULTHP will support participants in their positive personal development while preparing youth to take the next step toward living a life beyond trafficking and exploitation. Temporary emergency housing is also made available to participants in conjunction with the UL Social Worker. To learn more about the housing programs, click below.



Urban Light Participants will have access to programs including culturally relevant life skills workshops, year-round tutoring assistance, Thai language classes, health, fitness, and art activities, as well as computer literacy classes. For school-age participants the UL staff member will enroll and accompany youth through the registration into formal Thai school or 'Go-sa-no' (GED).


Harm Reduction

Participants will have access to programs, practices and facilities that aim to reduce the harms associated with the use of drugs if participants are unable or unwilling to stop abusing drugs. The defining features are the focus on the prevention of harm and prevention of drug-use by providing access to treatment and rehabilitation centers in Chiang Mai. 




As much as Urban Light is committed to the young men we serve we also recognize that there is a tremendous number of vulnerable youth who can easily fall prey to trafficking and exploitation. Urban Light is committed to working with youth from local villages and neighborhoods to educate and ignite local conversation surrounding the risks of sex trafficking and labor trafficking. Our aim is to prevent a new generation of young men taking the place of former boys.



At-risk and vulnerable males in Chiang Mai's notorious sex-bars, massage parlors, and street-based locations will have weekly visits by an UL staff member who will provide emergency on-site health services and resources, health kits, emergency hotline information and access to snacks/food. The UL outreach efforts will further identify trafficking victims and locations where trafficking and exploitation is occurring.


Legal Support

Urban Light participants who do not have identification or health cards will work closely with the UL staff member to file the necessary paperwork in order to obtain an ID card and therefore be able to work in legitimate establishments throughout Thailand. UL staff will work closely with Chiang Mai partner International Justice Mission (IJM) when necessary should ancestry mapping or more severe cases arise.