AFESIP Cambodia 

Acting for Women in Distressing Situations 

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Sona, a 19-year old girl, a victim of human trafficking, was brought to AFESIP Phnom Penh Clinic by AFESIP social worker, who stations in Stung Treng province. Sona agreed to choose the service when the provincial police invited AFESIP representative for a presentation of AFESIP activities especially at the center. AFESIP and the police also invited the parents to make a trip to Phnom Penh and meet their daughter. Sona lives in Kompong Cham province, but why she is in Stung Treng province at Cambodian-Lao Border ? To understand more about her, please follow this story, interviewed by our counselor at AFESIP Clinic in Phnom Penh as follows:

She said: “ My poor family with 6 members lives in Kompong Cham’s Kang Meas district. I stopped my study at grade 7, when I was 14, that is to say one year after I graduated from primary school, because my parents could not support me anymore. At home, I helped them in their daily work or did private business to generate income to support my family for nearly 4 years……. I had a boyfriend and lived together for a couple of months, then separated.”


“ One day, a lady, Ms. Khim, the wife of the commune secretary, around 53, came to my parents and persuaded them if they want to get good money, they should ask their daughters to marry the Chinese men. My parents were so happy at this good news. They then persuaded me that I have to marry a Chinese husband in order to get better life, especially become richer. Hearing this, I fully agreed.”

“ In full agreement, after a few days, Ms. Khim took my parents, my brother, and I to Phnom Penh and there we met two Chinese people, a female and a male and a translator. They asked my parents and me a lot of questions regarding our social situation. Then they took us for a wonderful lunch at Sorya Supermarket, near Central Market, which I have never known it before. It is a huge and modern market ever met in my life.”

“ After lunch, they took us to where it is called Phnom Penh Airport. I was happy seeing the planes flying, landing and taking off on the way. Therefore, a few moment later, the Chinese told us that the flight which would take me to China was already taken off. They then told us that we would go back to Phnom Penh and let Ms. Khim, my parents and my brother return home. The Chinese took me to a guesthouse and spent overnight there ”

“ The next morning, the Chinese took me in a car with another Khmer young lady whom I never know before. I did not know where they were going to, but I saw it crossed Chroy Changva Bridge, ….. some districts of Kompong Cham ……and then I did not know where the car was directed. After almost a day-long tired trip, in the evening, we stopped at a small village food shop and had dinner. The Chinese who knows badly Khmer language, asked the owner to spend overnight. I heard it is the Cambodian-Lao border ”.

She further added “ The next morning, they took me to the Cambodian-Lao Dom Kralor border check point’s immigration police. But I noticed there was without the presence of the Khmer lady of our team. At the immigration office, the police asked to tell the story to which I described straightforwardly. The police later sent us (the 2 Chinese and me) to Stung Treng provincial police station, escorted by the border police. While in Stung Treng, the police officer rang to someone. A few hours later, a lady came and told me that she was from an organization called AFESIP. Then she talked about AFESIP center service of which I was interested too much and agreed to come to Phnom Penh.”  This is what Sona told AFESIP staff at AFESIP Clinic.

For their part, her parents were also informed by the police to travel to Phnom Penh’s Toul kork district to meet their daughter. At AFESIP clinic, after meeting their daughter, our AFESIP social worker asked her father to talk about what happened: “ On the day when Sona went out with the Chinese to their different direction, my wife, my son and Ms. Khim went back home. On the way, Ms. Khim gave me $300 and told me that Sona will send me more in the very near future…….. A day passed. I got a call from Stung Treng police, saying that my daughter was at the police station, and she was trafficked by the Chinese. They would send my daughter to AFESIP clinic in Phnom Penh. I am so happy my daughter is back to me again. And most importantly, I would like to express my thanks for AFESIP for accepting my daughter to train at the center.”

After a phone contact with Stung Treng anti-human trafficking Police on 18 October, it was informed that the 2 Chinese were sent to Stung Treng provincial court for further legal action. We will inform you how the court proceed with the traffickers in our next edition.

*(All the names here are not real)

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