Cambodian sex slave story
She draws strength, she says, from her fellow survivors. On her trip to New York with two other young survivors, Sina Vann and Sopheap Thy, she holds their hands and hugs them frequently as they attend events and tour the city.In jeans, sneakers, and T-shirts, their dark hair pulled back into ponytails, the young women are quick to laugh at themselves and at one another.An estimated 27 million people are victims of slavery around the world, according to the U. Loch’s nightmare began when she was a child in Phnom Penh. “In Cambodia, many fathers rape their daughters; brothers rape their sisters.” Consistently ranked as one of the poorest and most corrupt nations in the world, Cambodia is still reeling from the brutal Khmer Rouge regime, which massacred as many as 2 million people in the 1970s. “I wanted to die.”That might have indeed been her fate if a woman hadn’t come along, offering to help.Her stepfather raped her, she says, when she was just a girl; she thinks she was around 7 years old. She would be raped again that year, by a stranger who snatched her from the street. Intellectuals and city dwellers were targeted and tortured in an attempt to create a completely agrarian society. One day Loch worked up the nerve to tell her mother about the rapes. The woman took Loch to her home—or so Loch thought. She was locked in a basement room and forced to “sleep with many, many men every day,” she says.She believes it’s the personal narratives of the girls that make people stop and listen. At the same time, she says it’s difficult to be reminded every day of her life in captivity.She is also haunted by the absence of her mother in her life; she has not seen her since she left home as a child.
The show sparked a storm of interest, with listeners calling in, reporting suspicious situations and asking about sentencing for pimps and traffickers.
Cambodia “does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking,” the State Department report says, but is making “significant efforts to do so.” Officials reportedly convicted 62 trafficking offenders this past year, an increase from 20 offenders the prior year.
Years had gone by, Loch says, when a client took her out of the brothel to his own home.
When people “hear the voice of the survivor,” she says on a recent visit to New York City, “we can help others.” She traveled to the U. with the group that helped save her, the Somaly Mam Foundation, named for another survivor of the sex trade in Cambodia.
Loch’s story may sound extreme, but it is not some isolated incident. The buying and selling of humans is a multibillion-dollar global business, ensnaring vulnerable people who are often kidnapped or tricked into the trade.
They look forward to going home and sharing their stories with the rest of the rescued girls.