I heard a story of two young girls in Cambodia, stolen, trafficked and abused….. at that very moment I decided to establish a ‘safe house’ for trafficked girls who have been rescued and need a place to help reintegrate back into society. I didn’t even know where Cambodia was but I wanted to go there. I wanted to see for myself. In 2002, after quitting my job, 28 years old, I left the UK and spend 10 months in Cambodia!
The story goes like this!
In Cambodia, young girls are often required to help supplement the families income. They often work in restaurants serving beer to customers. They are not ‘bad’ girls, but wear a sash with the name of the beer company written on them.
One day, a lady approached one of the girls and asked if she and her friend would like to serve beer at a party they were having the following week. Sure, naively…. they agreed. The following week, the lady came with her driver and picked up both girls. They headed to the party. When they arrived to where the girls thought the party was, one of them said, ‘Where are we going? I thought the party was here?’. ‘It’s been moved to a different place’ the lady said. A while later, when they saw that they were not going in that direction, the girls became worried and asked, ‘where are we going now?’. The lady pulled out a gun and said, ‘Nowhere! You are coming with us’.
They drove 4-5km out of Phnom Penh, the capital and boarded a small ferry and headed to the nearby island, Koh Dach. The lady put the two girls in a house with 10 other girls. There, they threatened the girls until they agreed to do what they wanted. Every day, each of the girls would see approximately ten men! After three months, three of girls had had enough. They decided to escape! In Cambodia the roof tiles are often latched on top of each other. Carefully, the girls removed the tiles, but as they were on the roof, the brothel owner heard the noise and came with her shotgun. She said, ‘If you don’t come down at once, I’m going tot kill you!’ Two of the girl were scared for their lives, but one of them decided that she had had enough. If she would die trying to escape, so be it, she would try! So, she jumped, and landed safely. She ran over to the nearly house, explained what had happened, but the owners were scared themselves. They pointed to the next house where she ran, but was faced with a wall maybe 20ft high. She climbed up a drainpipe and found a young missionary student asleep on the roof.
As they both looked out, across the field, they could see the brothel owner and the police out looking for her. Often the police are in cahoots with such establishments. The student missionary did not know what to do, so, he called his supervisor in Phnom Penh who suggested that he hide her and wait till the morning when he would come.
The following day, the girls’ hair was cut, tucked under a hat to look like a boy. Everyone headed to the ferry with much fear. Usually, it can take some time at the port, waiting for the ferry, buying tickets and security, however, on this occasion, within minutes the ticket was bought, everyone boarded and were on their way. Safe at last!
Can you imagine the joy and happiness when a 16 years old was reunited with her family?
Modern Day Crimes exists as a result of hearing that story back in 1997. I made a commitment to myself and to God to do something about Human Trafficking and what is happening around the world. Today, I challenge you to do the same!
This story has been retold by Daren Bullock from the story that Bruce Bauer shared at GO’97 Mission Conference.the