December 12th was National Anti-Human Trafficking Day in Cambodia. “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 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 role play titled Pity Lives, in which rescued girls and women presented the story of being tricked, trafficked, and terrorized.
The role play 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 woman and children to stop sexual trafficking,’ the 11-year-old victim – 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. She said victims as young as 10 years old are still sex-trafficked.
She said as a mother, grandmother, and aunt she could not accept that.” 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.” They distributed thousands of lime-green T-shirts embroidered with the day’s battle cry: “We are together against human trafficking.” According to Afesip’s 2011 report they convicted and sentenced 202 suspects this year for criminal involvement in sex-trafficking. Ministry of Interior anti-trafficking director Chiv Phally says the government is 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.