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2017 (Narrative date)

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 parlours 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.

Bella is from Phnom Penh, Cambodia. She was trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation at the age of 12. Bella was able to find refuge in a faith-based organization.

My name is Bella and I’m 21. I was born in Phnom Penh. When I was young, a woman tricked me and told me to clean her house or prepare her clothes…Then after one or two months, she sold me. When I was 12 years old, I was trafficked. They forced me to have sex with guys and I always don’t want to go… and she always hit me and blame me. I worked there about one month and I really hurt. I want to go away from the place but I cannot go. She sent me there, to the house and then have the guy come in… maybe like five a day. They pay like $20 and then he do something bad to me. I say no and I cry and I said, ‘please let me go.’ She told me that if I escape from her place, she will do something to my family. I felt like I was hopeless… I had nothing, no one care about me. No one thinks I’m special.”


If still I work like that, I will get a disease, and I will die with nothing.


Narrative source Youth Underground, a non-profit organization dedicated to preventing human trafficking through youth education, awareness-raising and advocacy.

Original narrative can be found here: