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Trafficking victims sound warning

In front of a crowd of about 1,000, an 11-year-old victim of sex trafficking yesterday wept while recounting being trafficked into Thailand when she was 8 and being held as a sex slave there for three years.

As part of yesterday’s National Anti-Trafficking Day commemorations, the Ministry of Women’s Affairs teamed with Cambodia NGO Afesip and the Somaly Mam Foundation to present an educational roleplay titled “Pity Lives”, in which rescued girls and women presented the story of how they were tricked, trafficked and terrorised.

The roleplay is a new initiative in which rescued girls educate women and children on how easy it is to become a victim and show brokers the consequences of their actions.

“I appeal to all the woman and children to stop sexual trafficking,” the 11-year-old victim, who was tricked and trafficked by a woman, cried.

“There is no future for them – I do not want to see anyone else in my situation.”

Speaking at the event in Phnom Penh’s Botum Vatey park near the riverside, Women’s Affairs Minister Ing Kantha Phavi said it was a common trick for parents and trusted relatives to persuade children and women to immigrate with traffickers who would ultimately enslave the girls in forced prostitution.  

“Victims as young as 10 years old are still sex-trafficked,” she said at the event. “As I am a mother, and a grandmother, and an aunt, I cannot accept this.”

Somaly Mam, director of Afesip and the Somaly Mam Foundation, told those gathered: “Together we can save women and children from being trafficked to brothels where they are illegally detained as sexual slaves.”

Ahead of yesterday’s event, Afesip and the Somaly Mam Foundation distributed thousands of lime green T-shirts embroidered with the day’s battle cry:  “We are together against human trafficking.”

“This happens because of low education and low family living standards, which is why my organisation works to educate women and children to have professional careers,” Somaly Mam, who was trafficked into sexual slavery as a child, said.

According to Afesip’s 2011 report, 202 suspects were convicted and sentenced this year for criminal involvement in sex-trafficking.

Ministry of Interior anti-trafficking director Chiv Phally said the government was already making moves to protect women and children from being trafficked.

“In 2011, the government issued a sub-decree to temporarily stop sending maids abroad to Malaysia as part of a way to prevent and cut down on human trafficking,” she said.

MTV Exit is conducting a three-day educational youth forum this week ahead of its concert in Phnom Penh this weekend – part of its campaign to end exploitation and human trafficking.

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