Anti-Trafficking - Cambodia
In 2008, World Relief launched aninitiative to reduce and prevent the exploitation and abuse of women andchildren in Cambodia. It is designed to address the root causes of traffickingof vulnerable adults, adolescents and children through community-leveltraining. The program seeks to stop trafficking before it starts by educatingcommunities and church and village leaders about the dangers of trafficking andthe ways in which the community can work together to prevent it. It empowersvillage members to respond to potential traffickers and teaches them how toseek safe employment when they migrate from the village for work.
Program long term success
40,000children receive anti-trafficking training; 7,500 teenagers receive training onanti-trafficking; 4,000 adults receive training on anti-trafficking; 900community leader participants committed to raising awareness and serving asadvocates in their local community on issues of trafficking prevention.
Program success monitored by
World Reliefmonitors the success of this project by tracking the numbers of children, youthand adults which attend the anti-trafficking training sessions. Interviews aremade within the cell churches and community to identify areas where thetraining messages are understood by their audience and the effect that theyhave on awareness of trafficking and how to prevent it.
Program success examples
Kom Yong grew up in Takeo Provinceduring the Khmer Rouge. Her father left and her mother later died under PolPot’s reign. Three of her four siblings died at an early age, but she remainedclose with her older sister, and was joyfully reunited with her after workingand starving in separate camps under The Communist Regime.
Reflecting on the rampant socialissues around her, Kom Yong admitted, “there are many cases of rape in thearea, especially of migrants.” She recounted the case of a young girl who hadbeen raped in the village recently. “This is bad, because children areinnocent. They don’t know anything.” Cases like these raise concern for her,and remind her that they do not live in safety.
“Some tricky people have come to ourvillage,” continued Kom Yong, “to take women and force them to work across theborder.” She described cases of women who she had known, who jumped at theopportunity to make money, but she had heard about their abuse and forcedprostitution, or never heard from them again. She spoke with a dry,matter-of-fact tone that made the truth even more horrifying. These injusticeswere as much a part of every-day life as sweeping out her small wooden house orswatting the malaria mosquitos around her. Each of the deep furrows in her browtold a story of the worry and pain that all of these tragedies had caused.
One man had come to her houseearlier looking for women who wanted to go work in Thailand and make a goodsalary. Kom Yong was desperate for money, but when she inquired further, hetold her that he was only looking for young virgins.
“Some people in our district go towork in Thailand and come back safely, with no abuse,” said Kom Yong, “butsometimes they don’t.” Her voice trailed off. There was so much left unsaid,and yet the pain behind her eyes said it all. The tragedies cannot be denied,but the best thing the village can do is spread knowledge of these traps toprevent it from happening in the future. The local authorities have begunspreading information about this prevalent issue.
“It’s not just local authority,”said Kom Yong, “World Relief programs spread a lot of information about it oncea week and I go to those meetings.” “They don’t just teach. They listen to usalso,” she continued. She has learned that “the human traffickers come withsweet words. They try to persuade, manipulate. They promise to give a goodsalary. They promise the girls will go work in a restaurant or somewhere niceand get paid well.” Imagine the heartbreak that each of these women experienceswhen they get to Thailand and realize that their opportunity of rising out ofpoverty been shattered, along with every shred of dignity and hope in theirlives.From World Relief, Kom Yong learned thatif she sees someone that looks dangerous, or hears about a bad situation, sheshould call services for intervention, to stop the trafficking before it canoccur. At the World Relief staff’s suggestion, she now has the phone numbers ofthe police and World Relief written on the beams of her house. The worriedfurrows in Kom Yong’s face melted into a smile as she reached towards thesenumbers, this hope in a place of turmoil.
“The teachers help us understand alot of things. If they didn’t come to teach, train, and show us this, wewouldn’t know any of these things, and the bad things, the tragedies, mighthappen in our lives as well.” Human trafficking is a true tragedy amongtragedies. The slavery these girls experience feels more confining than the bondageof a Communist war camp, and the words of the traffickers, more conniving thanhidden landmines. Kom Yong does not want to see that happen to her family orvillage members. She is hopeful about the prevention of this tragedy througheducation programs. “I really appreciate and thank World Relief,” she said,“and hope they can continue to work so we can learn.”