A resilient young woman is rebuilding her life after being trafficked for sex work.
Sarit* was trafficked to Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s capital, after being promised a job at a restaurant as a waitress and ice-server.
But when she arrived, she was forced into sex work “in a back room” and made to service customers. She was just 14 years old.
One of Hope for Justice’s partner organisations in Cambodia did outreach work at the restaurant after receiving a report about the illegal operation. They identified that there were girls under the age of 18 working as prostitutes in the brothel. They informed the police and shared vital evidence.
Sarit was rescued from exploitation in April 2019 when the police raided the brothel. She and the other child victims were taken to the Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation (MoSVY), the Cambodian government’s department for protecting vulnerable children.
Sarit was referred to Hope for Justice, and our team has been supporting her ever since. The survivor initially joined our Lighthouse programme, an aftercare centre where she received immediate crisis support, family and community assessments and collaborative planning to prepare her for her future.
She was enrolled in our restorative programme where she received trauma-informed therapy and life skills training.
In January 2021, she moved into our Stepping Stones project, where she was given the skills and support needed for her future. She received training and teaching to assist with independent living, such as cooking and cleaning, as well as employability skills to help her find work.
More recently, Sarit completed vocational training at a beauty salon. The employer has just awarded her a full-time position with the company.
Maggie Crewes, Hope for Justice’s Cambodia Director, said: “This resilient young survivor so impressed her employer that they offered her a full-time job.
“She has now completed all the steps of the Lighthouse programme and is in full-time safe work that she loves.
“This is fantastic news and is testament to the hard work and dedication that she has put in over the past three years. We are truly celebrating with her.”
Sarit, who is now aged 20, also recently moved into her own independent living quarters near to her new job. Hope for Justice organised a party with other survivors who had participated in our Stepping Stones project.
The celebration marked this special time for Sarit and the incredible progress she has made over the past three years.
Our team is following up with Sarit regularly to ensure that she is stable in her employment and that she stays safe.
*Name and image changed to protect identity of the survivor