Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Women return home after ordeal in China

Women return home after ordeal in China

Women return home after ordeal in China

Two 19-year-old women trafficked to China as brides last year escaped abusive husbands and a broker to finally return home on Sunday night, a relative said yesterday.

“I am so happy they are safe,” said Kim Vicheat*, the father of one victim and uncle of the other. “They are pregnant, so now they need to rest.”

Vicheat borrowed $800 to fly his daughter and niece home from Shanghai where they said they were stranded, broke and, despite pleas to the Cambodian consulate there, could receive no financial assistance. Now back home and mired in debt, the women aren’t receiving any reintegration support either, according to rights group Adhoc, which is monitoring their case.

Opposition lawmaker and former Minister of Women’s Affairs Mu Sochua said the lack of support is not surprising given the absence of a state budget for social services aimed at victims.

“It’s not just social and economic support, but also mental and psychological assistance that’s needed. Without state funding, that’s almost impossible,” she said. “The whole family needs social welfare, otherwise [the women], with no alternative way out of their family’s debt, will find the traffickers coming back again.”

According to a study by the International Organization for Migration, the entire act of rescue and repatriation may be “counterproductive” if not “supported by infrastructure necessary for the long-term reintegration of the victim”.

Police officials have jumped on the case, however, and are slated to meet Adhoc and the victims today to investigate the broker, whom the girls named as Neang Vanau. The Ministry of Interior declined to comment on whether an arrest warrant has been issued.

According to the US State Department, Cambodia convicted just eight labour traffickers last year and four in 2012 due to a lack of evidence and incentives for victims to testify in court.

*Named changed to protect identity.

MOST VIEWED

  • Cambodia’s image problem

    In opening remarks at a recent event, Secretary of State at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Luy David said information can be a double-edged sword. He told a European Institute of Asian Studies (EIAS) briefing seminar that the media has unfairly presented

  • PM Hun Sen says dangers averted

    Delivering a campaign speech from his home via Facebook Live on Thursday, caretaker Prime Minister Hun Sen said his Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) had carried the country through danger in its latest mandate. He was specifically referring to the threat of a “colour revolution”

  • Kingdom's trade deal with EU questioned before poll

    A European Union (EU) mission met with senior government officials at the Ministry of Interior on Tuesday as the 28-member bloc monitors an agreement under which Cambodian goods reach the crucial European market tariff-free. Some 10 commissioners are in the Kingdom as part of a seven-day

  • A new carrier takes off in capital

    Cambodia Airways, the latest passenger airline to enter the Kingdom, launched its first domestic flight on Tuesday. Flight KR801, carrying 145 passengers, left the Phnom Penh International Airport at 9:50am and landed in Siem Reap at 10:35am in an Airbus A319. Cambodia Airways marketing and branding