04 Apr Van Sreyno – Surviving Human Trafficking
Nothing phases me, shocks me or surprises me…i guess that is the legacy of experiencing and being exposed to things that most people are lucky enough not to experience. This legacy allows me, by default, to have the title of ‘Master of Experience’. My Masters of Experience allows me to do what I love to do without judgement, shock or surprise. It allows me to make decisions about other peoples lives without anger at those who played a part in the debacle of the past. It allows me to see what others don’t see. To feel what others don’t feel and above all else to understand human nature. So when I was asked to meet with a young girl and a set of twins in a poor village just outside the tourist Mecca of Siem Reap Cambodia My Masters kicked in.
At around 5 years of age Van Sreyno was trafficked to Phnom Penh to work as a domestic slave.
At around 5 years of age Van Sreyno was trafficked to Phnom Penh to work as a domestic slave. Not only was she forced to work long hours 7 days a week with little food but she was denied an education by her “OWNERS” . She cant even read or write her native language.
At 14 she was trafficked back to her rural village just outside Siem Reap Cambodia to care for a set of twins. She is now 16. The name of the little boy is Van Piseth and the name of the little girl is Van Pisey. The twins mother died from hunger just 2 years ago…yes just 2 years ago and her father has run off to Thailand. She has cared for these little ones without support and on as little as $1.00 USD per MONTH! Can you imagine? Begging for food one day, going without the next. She never ever had money for feminine products…think about that! Living in a tin shed, dirt floor and grass roof and cooking what she could find on an open fire.
When I first went to the village Van Sreyno wasn’t there. Her extended family, neighbours and the twins were all there but not Van Sreyno. We were all talking about options etc. I piped up…I need to see Van Sreyno…( I needed to see her face and look at her demeanor and above all I needed to see her eyes). Okay that sounds melodramatic but its true. From my experience working in the field in Cambodia I had to meet Van Sreyno and get a feel for her and the situation. I knew that it was hopeless coming up with a solution if the person involved wasn’t interested and or was hiding something. Van Sreyno turned up at the village and I knew straight away what I need to do. But no idea how to do it……. it was going to take time.
Most of you may think well there is nothing to think about ..just remove her and take her somewhere else. But its not that easy not that simple. You don’t want to place a child in a situation where you remove them from one bad scenario with no future to an okay scenario with no future. I also had to consider any mental health issues that Van Sreyno may have been suffering from due to her past so I had to make sure she would be in a safe secure home where all three were monitored and the work load of caring for all three was shared. Plus money…who was going to pay for it all. Being illiterate makes things very difficult. To start school meant Van Sreyno who is now 16 would be in prep along with 5-6 year olds…Not appropriate. Separating Vam Sreyno from the twins wasn’t an option. Who would look after the twins or Van Sreyno if she was left behind for that matter. It was quite a dilemma and one that kept me awake at night working through options. I wanted a long term solution. One that would ensure all three were safe, together and well cared. A future that offered more than hope…it offered choices.
Finally after many months of talking, thinking and looking for sponsors we finally placed the three children together in a centre in Siem Reap Cambodia and it so happens that the twins have a brother and sister at that same centre…woohoo! All this would not be possible without the support of the centre, sponsors and my loyal staff at MGY.
Van sreyno will now be able to learn her native language and English in the sanctum of the private centre without all eyes upon her. She and the twins will have 3 meals a day, love, other children their own age and a future. MGY along with the sponsors will continue to be involved in these three children’s lives for as long as is needed. One day you will be reading about Van Sreynos graduation from school.
Human Trafficking is defined as The illegal movement of people for the purposes of forced labour or commercial sexual exploitation. And that is what happened to Van Sreyno. Its hard to imagine in this day and age that human trafficking exists and that people are still dying from hunger in Asia. Yet the reality is that is exactly what is happening and happening every day in South East Asia.
MGY are committed to the prevention of human trafficking and to rescuing those victims of Human Trafficking.
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