The true courageous stories of girls and women sold into slavery
Channary* is 21 years old and the second child in a family of six from Koh Kong Province, Cambodia. In 2004 when Channary was only 13 years old, her father left the family to be with another woman with whom he had been having an affair. She began selling cakes with her brother to support the family’s living expenses. Channary also worked part time in the evening for a garment factory, where she earned $1.50 USD per day. She had to stop studying at an early age and as she described it, her life continued to feel like a rollercoaster with new ups and downs every day.
In 2008, when Channary was 17, she was raped by her neighbor Phirun. To save face, both families agreed to marry Channary and Phirun. It lasted only one year before Phirun left without any information or reason for doing so. Channary blamed her mother for her troubles, saying that she was always complaining and saying that Phirun was not satisfied with her. Angry, Channary went to live with her gradmother for six months before moving to Phnom Penh to find work. She was unskilled, barely educated, and unable to find work so she spent her time with friends. These “friends” eventually sold her into a brothel where she lived with pain while her family was unaware of her situation. Channary was forced to have sex with clients who she did not love, who smelled bad, and she felt that she was “living in a house of demons.”
Fortunately, the staff of AFESIP Cambodia met Channary and asked if she would like to leave the brothel and stay in an AFESIP shelter instead. Channary wanted to leave but she could not say anything because she feared what the brothel owner might do. AFESIP filed a formal complaint to the police and rescued her from the brothel. Channary decided to receive rehabilitation services at the Tom Dy Center in Phnom Penh. She pursued vocational training in sewing, also studying other supplementary subjects such as informal education, English language, and computer skills.
Under AFESIP’s care, Channary studied and trained from August 2009 to November 2011, after which she began an internship with a social enterprise in Phnom Penh from November 2011 to March 2012. She earned $47 USD per month, a healthy wage in Cambodia, and learned valuable skills that she can take with her to any future job opportunity.
Channary completed her internship successfully this past March and is now working with the same business as an employee. She now earns $70 USD per month and is likely to receive a raise after her three-month introductory period is complete. Channary said, “I am satisfied with the services provided by AFESIP both in the center and the process of reintegration. Now I can earn $70 USD per month during my 3-month work probation. I can help my widowed mother to some extent. Furthermore, here I can use my sewing skill I have learnt from the center.”
*Names have been changed and some details have been obscured to protect the identities of individuals involved.