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Empower Women with Possibilities

From lost trust to hope – Minea’s Story

Minea (not her real name) is currently 22 years old and was born to a poor family in Phnom Penh. A few years ago, Minea quit her studies to work at a garment factory with her older sister to help support her family.

In 2018, a “friend” preyed on her precarious family situation and trafficked her to China, via a network of brokers, on the pretense of marrying a nice man and working a nice job to support her mother and sisters. She never told her family.

Minea was sold to a man who kept her locked up in his house. She was raped night after night. After a period of time, Minea escaped and went to the local broker’s house for help. Here she was beaten by the broker’s mother-in-law and starved for three days. Fearing for her life, Minea relented to their demands and she agreed to be sold to another man. Similarly, this man kept her locked up and she was raped repeatedly.

Escaping once more, Minea found illegal work in a garment factory. A fellow Cambodian lady at the factory befriended Minea and promised to help her return home. Sadly, Minea was once again sold to a third man and again suffered extreme sexual and physical violence while being deprived of food and medical treatment.

Escaping for a third time, Minea was soon arrested by the police and sent to a detention center for more than four months for being an illegal immigrant. In April 2021, Minea was released to the Cambodian embassy and finally returned home with nothing but the clothes on her back.

Hagar welcomed Minea into the “Home of Love” program where she stayed short-term with a foster mother and other women who have been repatriated.

“My foster mother at the Home of Love is like my second mother. She gave me love and cared for me and I love her. For a long time, I lost my hope, trust, and love, and now I feels them”. – Minea

After medical check-ups and a comprehensive family assessment, Minea was reintegrated with her family a month after returning to Cambodia.

“I cannot thank you (Hagar) enough for your support and what you have done to bring my daughter back home safety. Hagar’s services really give her trust, love and care, and encouragement to fight for survival”, Minea’s mother said on the reintegration day.

Minea is pursuing legal justice against the broker. The Hagar legal team has gathered necessary evidence and testimony and has filed a complaint with the police. The broker continues to live freely while the police investigate the claims.

Hagar’s counselors continue to provide psychological support throughout her recovery. Minea and her family receive monthly food packages to prevent re-trafficking as much of her family lost their jobs during the pandemic.

Minea secured a job at a garment factory and she is happy with the progression she has made in her new life. She plans to take beautician classes over the weekends and wants to open a beauty salon in the future. She knows it is going to take years, but she is working hard towards this dream.

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