There are an estimated 261,000 people living in modern slavery in Cambodia (GSI 2018). All of Cambodia's 25 provinces are sources for human trafficking. Cambodian women and girls move from rural areas to cities and tourist destinations where they are subjected to sex trafficking in brothels, beer gardens, massage parlors and salons. Cambodian men form the largest source of demand for children exploited in prostitution, although men from across the world travel to the country to engage in child sex tourism.
Somaly grew up an orphan and at 12 years old was sold to a brothel. She was forced to provide sexual services for 20-30 men a day. Somaly finally escaped after seeing her friend killed by the brothel pimp. Somaly has set up the Somaly Mam Foundation and AFESIP to save girls from a life she once lived. She has built 3 rescue centres in Cambodia that currently houses 200 girls.
I’m Somaly…Somaly Mam. I’m a survivor of sex trafficking, of sex slave.
All time in the brothel I may have 20 or 30 clients and day. Maybe 8 years, 7 years. But my body they destroyed… my heart, my brain. Sometimes I don’t want to try to remember all these things because it horrible.
When I close my eyes I know exactly what time the client come in the brothel. And I know exactly what time the pimp punish us. You know what time they punish us? 3 o’clock in the morning, when the client leave.
They ask us all to come to sit together. And he tell us that our life here to accept what he asked us to do. She didn’t want to listen to him so he take a gun and he come near her and he killed her. I’m sitting here, and she…so he kills. All the brains come to me. All the blood it came to me.
And late at night I guess, I escape from the brothel. That is the day I escaped.
Here it’s like 92% or 90% of them have been sex abused and sex slavery. Some of girl have been raped by the family, ages between 3 years old up to 16. They call me mummy. They have no mother, they have no family. Just me.
We care them, we provide them school, training, everything. With provide them psychology counselling, each girl in each centre, 6000 girls that have been saved, I know all their stories one by one.
My daughter she has been kidnapped too. At the fourth day we found her at the Thai border, they tried to sell her to Thailand.
Narrative produced by Wide Net Productions