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Between January and June 2017, our program crisis center in Banteay Meanchey admitted 32 survivors of sexual assault and human trafficking. In addition, 30 relatives of survivors also sought shelter. Within the last six months, the sexual abuse and domestic violence cases have stayed the same compared to the previous six months. However, the number of migration related issues like human trafficking have increased due to the increasingly strict anti-migration laws in Thailand.
Thailand, a popular destination for migrants including Cambodian migrants, has recently passed new governmental laws that punish both employers and migrant workers for undocumented migration. Below is a story about Chantha, a child Cambodian migrant who was sent back to Cambodia under these new laws.
Chantha*, age twelve, is the eldest of five siblings. Chantha’s education was cut short when her family was split apart due to her parents both working as migrant workers. Chantha and her siblings have migrated between Thailand and Cambodia over four times since she was 9-years-old. While Chantha was recently in Thailand, her parents arranged for her to sell flowers and candies to make some money. Separated from her parents and sleeping on the streets, Chantha was arrested by the Thai police. She was then sent to a Thai shelter called Kreddakan. Chantha stayed in the shelter for seven months before she was repatriated back to Cambodia through the Poipet Transit Center of Cambodian Ministry of Social Affairs. She was then referred from the Poipet Transit Center to CWCC on 31 May 2017.
When she arrived at the CWCC’s safe shelter the counselor observed that Chantha was feeling anxious about being far away from her family. At this time, she had not seen her family for almost a year. She was very shy and wouldn’t interact with the other kids in the shelter.
The counselor provided counseling to her and encouraged Chantha to explore her feelings. Chantha joined group counseling sessions to share her story and learned to play and work with other clients to reduce stress. She did so by making souvenirs, painting pictures, playing with toys and games.
The counselor monitored her frequently and conducted follow-up appointments to see her progress. After receiving counseling, Chantha was happy and participated in group activities. She worked through her feelings of homesickness and started to enjoy the shelter community. While in therapy, Chantha expressed wanting to go to school. Per her request, the counselor helped her enroll her in a nearby school. Currently she is in good health, both physically and emotionally. She is loving the second grade and would like to be a nurse in the future.
Chantha would like to thank all of the donors who have provided this safe shelter to her where she is able to seek counseling and attend school. We hope to connect her with her family in the future.
Chantha*is a name given by the writer. Her real name is hidden to protect her privacy in according to child protection policy of CWCC.
This client likes to read in her spare time
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