AFESIP Cambodia 

Acting for Women in Distressing Situations 

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A number of Cambodian women have been being lured by brokers to China on the promise of marriage or highly paid jobs. This is because of poverty prevailing in Cambodia and the lack of general knowledge and information about what it is. And sometimes even they know, but still they take the risk anyway due to poverty.

Now look into the story of case SR0530, Chory, her fake name, who came to Siem Reap shelter mid-November 2013. To collect information to fill in the record, we tried to ask questions related to her personal story. However, we got a few answers only. She was reluctant to speak her story that why we have to wait a few weeks for her answers. Now it appears that she feels more comfortable and familiar with us and all of her team-mates.

 

Months has gone by, once we approached and held a friendly talk with her. She smiled at us and  agreed to what we asked. Chory told us that she is originally from a province, northeast of Phnom Penh. She is the eldest child in the family of 7 members. Her old parents grow vegetables in a small farm for a living. She stopped schooling at grade 3 and helped in housework. Life was tougher, when all of her siblings grew adolescent. She decided to leave home to find a job in Phnom Penh. Well, as planned, she got a job at a garment factory and became a garment worker with a wage, but a low one, not enough to save for her family. Living in Phnom Penh as garment factory worker, she had to pay a diversity of expenses such as rental room, water, electricity, food, and medicine. She also needed to save some money for her family’s need. However there was no choice, she had to continue her work for eight years. Sometimes, she had to spend more money on medicine for her sickness, and needed to get some money from parents to fill the crisis. 

Feeling much hopeless living in the city, she decided to return home for no reason how to live a better life and or survive. Life in the countryside is terrible in the sense of environment. She started her life again by helping parents grow vegetables.

One day, a woman lured her about how much good profit going to China that to say to marry a Chinese man,….  having a good job …. or making good money. Hearing this, she was happy and agreed to the idea. She has tried time and again to meet the broker and discussed the plan. Finally, both agreed to move ahead….. Passport process was prepared by the broker……..and two months later, the air ticket was notified to her. Chhory was happy in the hope that she could earn and send money home at the cost of her own effort.

It was surprisingly noted that a day before she would fly to China, the broker gave her $600. She was wondering and astonishing at the large amount she had never seen before. However, the broker coached  her to peddle the lie to the airport police when asked questions. For example, when the police asks “Where do you go ?” She has to answer: “I go to visit my sister who currently gets sick….”. Chory, accompanied by the broker traveled from her home village in order to take the flight at Siem Reap International Airport. After reaching Siem Reap Airport and explained how she could answer, the broker left.

At the airport departure gateway, she showed the ticket to the police. Unfortunately, the ticket is only one-way trip, causing suspicion when checked by the police. By so doing, the police did not allow her to leave the departure gate and told her that she was cheated by the broker, then soon took her to the police station….. In order to search for the broker, a policeman asked her to call the broker to meet her at an appointed place and time. The broker came as planned, then the police arrested and sent him to jail waiting for trial.

The police called AFESIP Siem Reap representative to pick her up from the station and with the consent from Chhory, AFESIP staff expressed their thanks to the police for their close cooperation with AFESIP Cambodia in preventing human trafficking nationwide and brought her to the shelter and sooner explained her about services committed by the shelter. Consequently she agreed to stay and be trained on hairdressing. Chhory told me: “I am so happy to live in the shelter and love to study hairdressing skill but I cannot decide without asking my parents’ approval.” And later on, after she has stayed for a while, team work took her to visit her family and they really are happy to see her come back home and support her to live in the shelter to study hairdressing and she is really happy for her family’s support. She never forgets to say thank you to our staff who give her love and warmth. “ In the future, I want to be a hairdressing shop owner in my village and then I can earn money to support my whole family”, she added.

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