Hope for Justice has moved to a new Lighthouse in Cambodia, providing a safe haven for young survivors of human trafficking and modern slavery.
A total of 22 girls and young women who have been trafficked, or who were at risk of human trafficking, were safely relocated to our new Lighthouse when we moved in March this year. Last month, we were able to reintegrate four of the survivors back with their families, with our team providing follow-up care.
The location is a huge improvement upon our former Lighthouse site, which was located in a busy, commercial area. We have increased capacity to house up to 30 girls, ages 0-18, as well as our growing staff team, who have been brought on board to increase the quality of our work and to run the new Stepping Stones project.
Maggie Crewes, our Country Director in Cambodia, said: “The space at our old building had become very inadequate. One of the primary concerns was that, during recent heavy rains, the floodwaters rose to the entrance compound. We had also outgrown the premises, and wanted to create capacity to house our beneficiaries and staff team in a space that was purpose-built.
“It was extremely difficult to find the right place in a good location that ticked all our requirement boxes. The search for a new building took around nine months and we looked around dozens of properties before finding the right one. We have had to do a lot of work on the building to get it fit for purpose, but it has all been worth it. We now have a huge space that is perfect for the girls’ and staff needs.”
The new Lighthouse boasts three floors, comprising three large rooms for the girls’ sleeping quarters, counselling rooms and space for confidential client sessions and family meetings. There are meeting rooms, offices for the team leader and Lighthouse manager, case managers and counsellors, a clinic, and a large recreation space which is used for yoga, dance, relaxation, education, life skills lessons and more. There is also a large classroom and library room, plus a compound with space for the driver’s office and guard house and another small office which may be used by our rescue or prevention teams in the future.
Maggie Crewes added: “The girls love the outside play area and garden space with all the trees and greenery. It’s a large area for them to run around, have fun, and take part in sports activities such as badminton, volleyball and table tennis. This was something we didn’t have at the old building, and is such a joy to see because we know that the children’s engagement in physical activity will also positively impact their mental wellbeing.”
Prior to the move, new toilets, showers, wiring and a kitchen were installed, and the site underwent a deep clean. Following the extensive renovations, Hope for Justice officially moved into the premises in March this year. It was a huge logistical operation to ensure that the 22 girls were relocated in a secure manner to prevent runaways, as well as moving materials, furniture and equipment. An opening day party was held on April 22nd with a celebration cake being enjoyed by the children and staff to mark the occasion.
In addition to meeting the needs of the girls in our care, the new Lighthouse ensures that our staff have living quarters and adequate provision to carry out their work safely and effectively. Our team of nine house-mothers live on site, working on rotation to provide 24-hour cover at the Lighthouse. We also have three case managers, two counsellors, one nurse, an intake officer, a safeguarding officer, Lighthouse manager, guards and drivers operating out of the site.
Maggie Crewes said: “It is so good to have a great space for both our clients and our staff. This really helps us to serve the girls much better, and gives more of a sense of freedom as they have a much bigger area to occupy. We now have a proper clinic room – complete with hand-wash sink – and our counsellors have a dedicated room each, whereas before they were juggling counselling sessions with other staff meeting requirements, which was a big inconvenience. It is great to see the girls playing badminton, skipping rope and running about or caring for the plants! We are so thankful for this great space and hope and pray we can use this Lighthouse to house and serve the girls who need to access these services.”