A Daughter’s Devotion: Srey’s Story of ResilienceOthers, Trafficking , Women & Girls
Contributed by: Ratanak International
For Srey, devotion to family is everything. Srey even dropped out of school at just eight years old to help support her family.
When Srey turned 17, acquaintances began to visit her father asking, “Have you considered sending Srey to China to get married? There’s a rich man who can help your family and give Srey a better life.”
Her father hesitated to send his beloved daughter away, until he learned one of Srey’s cousins had also agreed to marry a Chinese man. Srey’s heart swelled with hope—finally an opportunity to end her family’s struggles!
But her hopes were soon crushed in China. Every day for three years, Srey worked as a domestic slave in her “husband’s” home all day without breaks, and was hardly ever allowed to go outside.
Her only comfort was that her neighbour was Cambodian too! When she could, she’d sneak out to confide in her new friend.
One day, the neighbour said she had heard the mother-in-law was unhappy that Srey hadn’t given her grandchildren and planned to sell her into prostitution.
‘’Don’t try to run,” her neighbour warned. “If the police catch you, you’ll be physically abused. I think I have another way to help you.’’ Srey thanked her, imagining returning home to her family.
But she’d been deceived again for the second time in her short life. The Cambodian neighbour, her only friend, betrayed her. Srey was sold to another man. A man who would starve her for days and violently abuse her.
Miraculously, local police arrived for an inspection of their rental property and discovered Srey didn’t have proper documents. They detained her, and in a moment of unexpected joy informed her that she would be sent back to Cambodia.
A few years ago, Srey’s return would have been less certain or far more convoluted, but thankfully Ratanak has had the privilege of actively working alongside the Cambodian government to improve the national repatriation protocols for Cambodian trafficking survivors trapped abroad. That means survivors like Srey can now get home faster and more safely, have proper identification of their trafficking situation, and get referred to organizations like Ratanak who can help them on their healing journey.
Srey arrived back in Cambodia, eager to connect with her family. She was referred to stay in Ratanak’s transitional home where staff organized for her to be reintegrated back to her village. The first thing Srey did was call her father, her face came to life when she heard his surprised voice on the phone. “I thought my daughter died because I never heard any information from her. Knowing she was alive and safe made me overjoyed!” he said tearfully.
Through your incredible generosity, our team was able to reflect the amazing love of God to Srey and her family by also providing counseling, food packages, economic empowerment and skills training.
Today, Srey is not only continuing to recover with amazing resilience and perseverance, she’s working towards her dream of opening a small grocery store—and it’s all thanks to you!
You can read the rest of our E-newsletter at www.ratanak.org/news
*Disclaimer: “Srey” is a pseudonym for one of the young women in our care. Images and some details of her story have been changed to protect her identity.