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Empower Women with Possibilities

Somphors’ Journey, A Survivor’s Story

Somphors, a 36 year old mother of 3 who lives in the Battambang province, Northwest region of Cambodia. This is her whole journey with Hagar.

In 2015, Somphors was forced to move away from her family, children and community to work at the Cambodian-Thai borders as a beer promoter in a night club. It was here where she was offered the opportunity to marry a man from China for money to support her family. Attracted by the proposition to financially help her family, Somphors did not realize that she was in fact being trafficked to China as a sex slave in her marriage, where she would also endure domestic violence from her husband. Shockingly, it was her own aunt’s friend that tricked and brokered Somphor’s false marriage deal for $2,000.

I was so happy at first when I heard that I was selected to get married to the Chinese man with some cash to my family

Somphors was living a real life nightmare. She did not know anything about China or how to communicate with her family and friends that she left behind. She was forced to work as a family sex slave with severe sexual abuse. She continued,

“For these nearly 2 years, I had been forced to have sex to my husband even when my health was not acceptable. My health got worst and then I was raped from day to day.”

She was confined and hidden away by her Chinese husband’s family without allowing her to visit outside family and friends. She finally escaped from her husband and his family by jumping out of a window in the house and calling the local police in China for support.

Somphors was rescued from sexual slavery in late 2016. Her children were also removed from her husband’s care and were transferred to live in one of the NGO centers in the Battambang province while she was living in China. Somphors was then referred to Hagar, where in partnership with CSO networks, we provided Somphors with support to receive medical treatment for her physical injuries, intensive counselling, a dedicated case manager to help her resettle in Cambodia, food assistancevocational training and job placement.

“I was so lucky to receive the support and services from Hagar. I have been working with Hagar’s staff and I have been better from day to day”

Hagar Cambodia and other CSO partners in Battambang province provided continued support for Somphors and she has been able to stay in Cambodia. Our case manager on the ground helped her train in a hair salon where she was able to learn trade skills and gain employment with them. In doing so, she was also able to support herself and her family, especially her children, with both a good livelihood and education.

We journeyed with Somphors for 2 years and she now says:

“I was very happy to be back and had a stable job and income. I could make money for supporting my family.”

Today, Somphors is married to a wonderful and kind man and they just recently had a new baby!

Our Whole Journey continues by helping survivors like Somphors to receive sustainable support, ensuring that they not only recover from the deep seeded trauma of abuse, but realize a future where they can thrive.

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