Life in Cambodia was very hard for Ka and her family. While other children were going to school, Ka helped her siblings scavenge for cans and beg for money on the streets.
On the advice of a friend, she headed for the Thai border in search of a higher-paying job.
But once she arrived, she found no decent work. She was alone, living on the streets. Out of desperation, Ka ended up working in several different clubs or brothels.
In one instance, she was indebted to her employer for $6 — an amount that kept her captive for two years, forced into prostitution, facing sexual exploitation by up to 10 men each night. Eventually, a police raid on the brothel set her free, only to put her on the street alone, yet again.
With nowhere to go, she was forced to work in yet another brothel. There, she and another girl secretly phoned the police.
Two days later, the police arrived. Ka was taken to World Vision’s Trauma Recovery Project, where she received physical, psychological, and spiritual counseling, as well as occupational training.
Millions of children each year are trafficked for forced labor, sexual abuse, or other exploitation. “Anywhere from 30,000-60,000 children [are] possibly involved in the sex trade,” says Joshua Pepall, technical advisor to World Vision’s Trauma Recovery Project, speaking about children in Cambodia.
After four years of separation, Ka’s stepfather found her at the center when his son-in-law, a World Vision staff member, discovered she was there.
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It is not easy for the traffickers to find her, now that she is far from where they are serving their prison terms. But she still fears that someone might recognize her. “I am always very careful when going out...it could be [one of] my previous customers or whoever knew the brothel’s owners. I don’t talk to strangers, nor do I go out alone,” Ka explains.
World Vision’s Trauma Recovery Center works closely with the district social affairs officer in Ka’s community, who visits every month to see how she and her family are doing. If he suspects any danger, he informs the authorities.
The young woman now has a job as a chef’s assistant. “The priority is to help my parents to live in better conditions,” she says. “When I save up enough, I will continue studying how to read and write. So, in five years I will open my sewing shop.”
As Ka continues to recovery emotionally, she looks to God for comfort.
“I have a bad dream almost every night,” she says. “I pray to Jesus, then he wipes away all bad things in my dream and I can sleep. I can witness [to] people about the amazing thing God has been doing in my life.
“When I was in the center, I made a pledge with God. [I said] ‘Lord, if you are really doing something in my life, assure me that I will meet...my mother one day.’ Now, you can see how God responds to my pledge. It’s truly amazing.”
*Names have been changed to protect the identity and dignity of the mother and daughter.
>> Pray for those working to assist children and other vulnerable individuals who have been trafficked. Pray for a transformation of the perpetrators of this crime. Pray also for protection and healing for those who have been exploited through trafficking.
>> Call your senators today to voice your support for the Child Protection Compact Act (S. 3184).
>> Donate now to help provide hope for sexually exploited girls like Ka. Your gift will offer assistance like medical care, safe shelter, nutritious food, education, trauma recovery counseling, and more.
>> Give monthly to help provide assistance for exploited children like Ka. Your monthly gift will help fund interventions like safe shelter, food, healthcare, trauma recovery assistance, and more for children left most vulnerable by trafficking and abuse.
|Read more about child trafficking and World Vision’s efforts to stop this tragic practice.|
Four ways you can help
|Pray for those working to assist children and other vulnerable individuals who have been trafficked. Pray for a transformation of the perpetrators of this crime. Pray also for protection and healing for those who have been exploited through trafficking.|
Call your senators today to voice your support for the Child Protection Compact Act (S. 3184).