Our director, Ena, joined our #travelwithpurpose2019 trip and explains the influence of history and poverty on child exploitation in Cambodia in her Instagram post:
"The flower that blooms in adversity is the most rare and beautiful of all." - The Emperor, Mulan
1-3: The Kingdom of Cambodia has always been a place of awe & wonder to me. Her people are beautiful, her culture is rich, & her history is long and full of triumphs. But she is wounded and her people are hurting, she is no longer the rich and powerful empire that she once was. She was torn down and beaten by the Khmer Rouge, & the memories of this atrocity continues to haunt her.
4-5: Poverty is an illness that runs deep in the veins of Cambodia. Her people have very little, with clean drinking water being a luxury to some. The ethnic Vietnamese are some of the most impoverished here. Undocumented people in both Vietnam and Cambodia, strangers to both their motherland and to the place they call home. They have no status, no nationality, no land & some even lost their names, as they adopt Khmer names in hopes for a better future. What then becomes of their identity? But poverty leaves little time to dwell on existential questions. So they find a way, building shacks by the river, or even on the water. They make do with what little they have. They gather together in tight knit villages with others like themselves and they survive. But there are many means of survival, some darker than others.
6-7: In the dark underbelly of Cambodia is a thriving industry, one that preys on the impoverished. A stroll through the red light district gives us only a small glimpse of how big this industry is. Getting a girl is easy here. Prices are low & they often come with free drinks, free showers & free condoms. What a steal of a deal! So men from all over the world flock to beautiful Cambodia, all hoping to get a piece of her. But how many care about how much she is hurting? The average life span of a girl who enters the sex trade is about 7 years. Death comes more swiftly to some than others.
8-9: @onebodyvillagecanada exists to fight against these odds. The girls we support are more than stats, they are our family. We vow to never let them suffer the 7 year fate. We vow to stand along side them & be their advocates. We vow to give them hope & We vow to love them fiercely."