Two sisters rescued from labour exploitation in Thailand recently arrived at Hope for Justice Cambodia’s Lighthouse facility.
Cantha* (17) and Kolap* (12) come from a poor family, which moved from Cambodia to Thailand when the girls were very young to find more work opportunities.
Their mother died quite early on in their lives and shortly afterwards their father was in an accident that left him disabled and unable to work.
Cantha faced exploitation working in Thailand’s rice plantation fields, while Kolap was forced to move to care for her father. Neither girl has much education, and both speak only very basic Khmer (the national language of Cambodia).
However in the past couple of weeks since they were welcomed to the Lighthouse, they have shown incredible progress already.
Their therapists explained: “The girls at Lighthouse start therapy sessions, Computer and English class as soon as they join us. I noticed that when the girls had first arrived, they were extremely shy and nervous. They would keep looking around the classroom, not really sure as to what was going on.
“However, by their third class they started to open up, warming up to their peers and their surroundings. They joined in singing despite not knowing the words and I saw a new light in their eyes.
“After a few therapy sessions we have had some breakthroughs and they are happy to stay with us.”
The holistic and nurturing care environment provided at Hope for Justice’s Cambodia projects ensure that survivors’ emotional development is supported, teaching them independence and how to protect themselves, and reducing their vulnerability to traffickers and exploitation.
Cantha is already looking to study more and find vocational work opportunities. After everything they have had to go through at such a young age, they smile, laugh and sing every day.
There is so much hope for them and we are so excited to help guide them on their journey.
*The survivors’ names have been changed for their protection
Article by Amy Powell and Adam Hewitt