Volunteers at Agape International Missions, supported by the Hong Kong Federation of Women Lawyers and Le Lumière Events, are dedicated to fighting child sex trafficking in Cambodia
When discussing human trafficking, it’s all too easy to feel powerless in the face of the crushing statistics. The UN’S International Labour Organisation (ILO) estimates that there are 40.3 million victims of human trafficking globally, 25 per cent of them children who have been abducted, abused and sold into slavery.
While the number of victims of human trafficking—a US$150 billion industry, according to the ILO—IS increasing globally, it is decreasing in Cambodia, thanks to antitrafficking NGOS such as Agape International Missions (AIM). AIM is a Christian organisation that works at the grassroots level, promoting awareness and advocating change in communities where it’s most needed. Here it has the support of the Hong Kong Federation of Women Lawyers (also known as Hong Kong Women Lawyers) and Le Lumière Events.
To date, AIM’S anti-slavery efforts are responsible for the rescue and rehabilitation of more than 1,000 children and teenagers in Cambodia. And with the opening in April this year of a new school for 1,500 students in Svay Pak, a village just outside Phnom Penh, the organisation has
expanded the educational opportunities available to people who previously had none.
Sarah Wong, who is head of legal at Amundi Hong Kong, vice president at Hong Kong Women Lawyers and an AIM ambassador, cites as an example the case of Srey T, who was trafficked to a brothel for 22 days and sold to men for sex a total of 198 times.
“After her rescue, she was provided sanctuary at a safe house and entered AIM’S restoration programme, which offered counselling and, importantly, time to heal, both mentally and physically,” says Wong. “She then went to work for the AIM employment centre while studying at night. Currently, she is a social worker on the SWAT team, helping other survivors face their next day with hope and encouragement.”
For all the volunteers at AIM and Hong Kong Women Lawyers, a commitment to stop the cycle of trafficking and exploitation in Cambodia is a moral imperative. “We only have two choices—do something or do nothing,” says Wong. “I believe that those who are voiceless should not be left behind, and we can all make a contribution, however big or small, to helping children live a life of their own choice,
GIVING BACK From left: Leanne Lam, Agape International Missions (AIM) ambassador and founder of Le Lumière Events; Melissa Stock, AIM’S co-country director for Cambodia; Sarah Wong, vice president for the Hong Kong Federation of Women Lawyers