Help a Trafficking Survivor Heal From Her Trauma

by Lotus Outreach
Help a Trafficking Survivor Heal From Her Trauma
Help a Trafficking Survivor Heal From Her Trauma
Help a Trafficking Survivor Heal From Her Trauma
Help a Trafficking Survivor Heal From Her Trauma
Help a Trafficking Survivor Heal From Her Trauma
Help a Trafficking Survivor Heal From Her Trauma
Help a Trafficking Survivor Heal From Her Trauma
Help a Trafficking Survivor Heal From Her Trauma
Girls in the shelter working on craft items
Girls in the shelter working on craft items

Consoling Through Counseling Program ~ Shelter based counseling and care for survivors of sexual abuse, trafficking and domestic violence.

Abused, vulnerable, and exploited children made up 64% of the clients that were provided a safe haven to recover in the Consoling Through Counseling program in 2016.

Children are the largest percentage of unwitting victims in the greater Mekong area where endemic corruption and extreme poverty feed greed. The destitute conditions create opportunities for abusers and exploiters to use children for profit.

Although corruption continues and confidential shelters are still full, we are happy to report that over the past several years, the legal system in Cambodia has improved in terms of convicting sexual abusers.

It was highly evident during our visit to the shelter that the Counseling Through Counseling program continues to have extraordinary heartfelt forms of innovative therapy that provide healing and hope for the survivors.

Details of this report were recorded in interviews at the confidential shelter in the province of Banteay Meanchey in late March 2107.

During the first quarter of 2017, out of the 28 survivors in the program, 61% were children. Out of the 28 survivors, 41% of those were victims of sexual abuse and 53% were victims of human of trafficking. We met and interviewed two of the children and visited the tailoring training and crafts classroom. 14 of the residents take advantage of this resource. The tailoring and craft teacher has been working at the shelter for many years and is extremely passionate and engaged in the important work she does. Working in the classroom is highly social and the girls have a wonderful time learning, helping each other, and socializing.

This year, Lotus Outreach has agreed to provide funding for three of the girls to learn beauty skill training. They will be apprenticed by a few reliable teachers in the area and will remain in an open-ended training program until they learn their craft sufficiently to work professionally. Both the girls we interviewed during this visit applied for the training. One of the girls at age 13 feels that this intervention has the ability to change her life completely.

Survivor of Sexual Abuse – Sarah* is 13 and has 4 siblings. She is the third child in her family and dropped out of school in the 4th grade while living in a remote part of the province far from school. She was sent by her mother and father to work as a nanny for a seven-month old baby in Poipet City, a bustling border town on the Thai/Cambodian border.

Heartbreakingly, Sarah was raped many times by the father of the household and at first didn’t dare tell the wife of the abuser and didn’t have access to a phone to call her family.

One day the husband and wife went out and Sarah took the opportunity to call her mother. Her mother then called Sarah’s employers and told them she wanted to spend a few days away with her daughter. The Sarah's mother filed a complaint in Poipet and the Police arrested the perpetrator. Sarah was admitted to the shelter in January this year. At the time of interview, the perpetrator was in prison waiting for a hearing date and according to court procedures, should be completed within six months.

Sarah’s counseling journey – Soknyi, the senior counselor at the shelter told us, “When Sarah first came to the shelter we took her to have the post rape examination. As expected, she was very nervous. Sarah feared that the man who raped her would come find her. When her mum left the shelter, it took some time for Sarah to open up and become part of the shelter community.

Healing time:

Soknyi, the counselor, tells us in her own words, “First I built trust by talking with Sarah and showing that I care for her and after that she started to talk about her feelings. We introduced her to sewing training to help bring her out of herself and begin interacting more fully with the other girls in the shelter. Sarah was also enrolled in small and big group counseling which brought her further out of herself and back into a more natural state of being with others. She did continue to feel nervous and afraid for some time and then gradually began to interact comfortably with others."

“I used Art therapy to help get Sarah in touch with her emotions. She used nice colors that suggested she was not full of hot angry emotions and the therapy helped calm down her state of anxiety and nervousness. As with many of the shelter guests, Sarah was encouraged to see tailoring as a possible preparation for a livelihood that could provide financial support in future as her family is poor and she cannot ever depend on them.” Soknyi also introduced her to the vegetable patch and she enjoys working there.

After two months, Sarah is much better adjusted and relates well with others. Soknyi buys vegetables from Sarah’s garden to encourage her to see it as a business and encourages her to grow more and more, telling her, “If the shelter can’t buy them, I will find a market for them outside.”

We are told that Sarah’s parents are asking her to come home so they can put her to work to help support their family. Soknyi is trying to convince them to allow her to stay so that she can continue to heal but also so that she can learn a skill. Soknyi has been working on enrolling Sarah in the beauty school training so that her family will agree to let her stay at the shelter for a bit longer.

If Sarah is to return home because of her family’s requests, we will put in place the Counsoling Through Counseling  social worker who oversees the reintegration of the victims and monitors their progress at home.

Either way, we have full faith in Sarah’s recovery and want to thank all of the donors who have supported this program. 

*names have been changed for privacy 

Hair clips made in the craft class
Hair clips made in the craft class
Sarah, 13-years-old (back left).
Sarah, 13-years-old (back left).
A young girl in the tailoring class
A young girl in the tailoring class
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
Art therapy at the shelter.
Art therapy at the shelter.

Currently we have 53 clients in our Consoling through Counseling program. Twelve of those rape cases include survivors who are under the age of 18. Our work with these young clients continues to be necessary for the proper healing and eventually the reintegration back in to society. With the appropriate attention, these survivors recover and go on to live fulfilling lives. Below is the case study of a client who was sexually assaulted by a family member and is now in our care facility.

Srey Lys is the oldest of three siblings. Her parents work as laborers on the Thai-Cambodian border (crossing daily) where her father got to know another man who started working with them. They became good friends and eventually the man became the godfather of Srey Lys. He requested that the children come and stay with him at nights sometimes to keep him company because he said he was lonely. The parents felt okay about this because he was like a grandfather to Srey Lys, and she would be accompanied by her brother. During a visit, the godfather asked Srey Lys's brother to sleep downstairs and raped Srey Lys. Her brother heard what had happened from the lower floor and told his parents. Sry Lys’s parents took the case to court. The man was arrested by the police and has been taken into custody. He is now in jail awaiting the sentence. Sokni, the CTC counselor, accompanied Srey Lys to court several times. We are still awaiting the verdict.

When Srey Lys first arrived at the shelter, she came with her mother and refused to be left alone. Although Srey Lys was reluctant to stay in the shelter, she didn't want to go back to her village because of the embarrassment that she felt. Her mother convinced her to stay at the shelter and to attend court so that she could complete the case and receive treatment. Srey Lys agreed and enrolled into the school close by to the residential shelter. (It is common that the children at the shelter attend the school near the residential shelter. The teachers work with the counselors to ensure that the client's needs are met. This allows the survivors to continue their studies and have some normalcy in their lives.)

In terms of her behavior, at first Srey Lys was particularly unfriendly towards the other clients in the shelter and responded in a mean and aggressive way if people spoke to her.

Soknyi, the therapist, would ask Srey Lys to paint and color to help get her mind off the negative thoughts and reduce her aggressiveness. She reminded Srey Lys about the rules of the shelter which includes being kind towards others. Soknyi encouraged Srey Lys to be constructive with her energy and put it towards crafts and school.

When Srey Lys would hit people, Sokni would tell her it’s wrong to hit and hurt others. After enough interventions, Srey Lys is now refraining from hitting people. She is also studying hard and has enjoyed sewing after school. These elements have added to her healing process and allowed her to feel like herself again. Although making improvements, it is apparent that Srey Lys will need to recover at the shelter for a while. Rather than staying in her home village and having to deal with the heightened sense of shame and self-consciousness, the shelter encourages a safe place in which there is constant support for the survivors.  

Once she is ready to return home, we will make sure that she has the correct support. As for right now, we are continuing to focus on her healing process.

Thank you to all the donors who have supported survivors like Srey Lys!

Srey Lys and her therapist at the shelter.
Srey Lys and her therapist at the shelter.
Kimmy, a counselor at the shelter.
Kimmy, a counselor at the shelter.
The counselors and the reintegration officer.
The counselors and the reintegration officer.
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook

Below is a brief summary of the Counseling and Reintegration Program in 2016:

  • 25 survivors (Domestic Violence =2, Sexual Abuse =9 & Human Trafficking =14) and 8 relatives were referred to safe shelter. We added to 12 survivors (DV=5, SA=1 & HT=6) and 5 relatives from the previous period.
  • Total = 37 (Domestic Violence=7, Sexual Abuse=10 & Human Trafficking =20) and 13 relatives stayed at the safe shelter in the first semester of 2016.
  • Of 25 cases, 21 are under 18. The high number and % ratio of youth and children being served is something we are making a point about.   

A summary of the activities coducted by the counselors in 2016:

  • The counselor had spent 47 hours providing 77 individual counseling sessions to 24 survivors who stayed in the CWCC's safe shelter. Of 24, 17 were survivors of human trafficking, 4 were survivors of sexual abuse and 3 were survivors of domestic violence.
  • The counselor provided 9 small-group counseling sessions to 19 clients at the CWCC's safe shelter. Of 19 survivors, 14 survivors of human trafficking, 4 survivors of sexual abuse and 1 survivor of domestic violence which spent 9 hours and 25 minutes.
  • The counselor provided 21 big group counseling sessions to 22 survivors and 2 relatives at the CWCC's safe shelter which spent 29 hours and 20 minutes. Of 22 survivors, 15 were survivors of human trafficking, 4 were survivors of sexual abuse and 3 were survivors of domestic violence.
  • There were 17 survivors of human trafficking, 4 survivors of sexual abuse and 3 survivors of domestic violence and 2 relatives (totally 26) participated in 5 weekly meetings in the shelter for a total of 5 hours.

The (24) beneficiaries of individual counseling sessions are as the following:

 a)    Under 18: (totally 21)

-       Domestic Violence : 1

-       Sexual Abuse: 4

-       Human Trafficking: 16

b)    From 18 to 22: (totally 1)

-       Domestic violence: 0

-       Sexual Abuse: 0

-       Human Trafficking: 1

c)     Over 22: (totally 2)

-       Domestic Violence : 2

-       Sexual Abuse: 0

-       Human Trafficking : 0

We hope that this report displays the continued progress of the Counceling and Reintegration Program. Thank you to all of the donors who faithfully believe in the healing of these girls and women. It is with your support that the beneficiaries may heal from their traumas and seek bright futures.

Art work done by the women/girls.
Art work done by the women/girls.
The counselors at the center
The counselors at the center
A counselor with two survivors.
A counselor with two survivors.
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
Arts and crafts at the safe shelter.
Arts and crafts at the safe shelter.

Between January and June of 2016, Lotus Outreach’s Consoling Through Counseling program hosted a total of 37 survivors and 13 relatives at the safe shelter in Banteay Meanchey. Out of the 37 survivors, 54% were survivors of human trafficking, 27% were sexual abuse survivors, and 19% were domestic violence survivors. In all cases, the survivors attended individual, small group, and large group counseling sessions.

The following is a case study of a resilient 15-year-old girl, Srey. Srey was born in Thailand and is the youngest in her family. Unfortunately, when Srey was 12, her father passed away. After the death of her father her mother still worked at a fertilizer production enterprise in Thailand. Srey attended school as well as helped her mother earn money where ever she could.

One day in 2015, Srey was sexually assaulted by two unknown men when her mother was away at work. The intruders threatened to kill her mother if she told anyone about the incident. Days later the men came back and assaulted her again while filming a video of the incident.

Srey’s school teacher noticed that Srey’s behavior was strange so she asked her if something was wrong. Srey told her teacher everything that had happened to her. Once the teacher let her mother know, her mother submitted a complaint to the Thai police. Srey was sent to an NGO’s safe shelter for care and waited for the court case to proceed. In August 2015 she was sent to Cambodia through Poipet Transit Center and finally she was referred to stay at CWCC’s safe shelter in Banteay Meanchey on the 13th of August 2015.

Srey did not feel good about staying at the shelter for the first few days because she didn’t know the other clients who were residing in the shelter. She really missed her mother and siblings who were all still in Thailand. She wanted to go back to Thailand. She hid in her bedroom and did not want to talk to other clients.

The counselor started to build a relationship of trust and provided individual counseling and admitted her to join the group counseling sessions with other clients in the shelter. Srey attended group games and activities in the shelter such as drawing, painting, crafting, and playing with toys and other games. Srey started to speak more and more with the other survivors and share her story.

Today, Srey feels better about staying in the shelter with the other clients. She is stronger physically and emotionally. She gets along with the shelter staff and the other clients. She attends counseling and shelter activities. She is currently waiting for her mother to return to Cambodia. The counselor will continue to follow up on her progress.

Srey is grateful to all of the donors who have supported her recovery. Without your help, survivors would not have the chance to heal from their traumas.

Srey *is a name given by the writer. Her real name is hidden to protect her privacy in according to the child protection policy of CWCC.

Individual counseling
Individual counseling
Large group therapy.
Large group therapy.
Group therapy.
Group therapy.
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
A Counselor working with a group of children.
A Counselor working with a group of children.

A brief overview and update: 

  • Underlings the importance of this work, 9 of 10 survivors of trafficking receiving counseling in the shelter were children.
  • Of 24 survivors of trafficking, 17 were children and 2 under 22 years of age. Thankfully, most of the human trafficking cases are concerned with labor while two young adults (18-22) and one over 22, were survivors of trafficking for sexual exploitation.
  • Unlike in previous years, most all of the sexual abuse cases have been to court and perpetrators are in custody.
  • Four children and five youth over 18 years received sewing skills training for therapeutic and educational purposes.

All of the children survivors of trafficking came through the Cambodian/Thai border town of Poipet and the Thai repatriation center. Our partner NGO is also supporting one social worker at the government transit center to identify children and women victims of trafficking. Most of the children are dependents of undocumented migrants, flower sellers, and beggars.

The three cases of Human Trafficking for Sexual Exploitation had been sex workers. They are children were discovered during a Police raid in a Poipet massage parlor.

We feel that due to work like CTC, high rates of imprisonment and convictions have significantly reduced the sense of impunity in potential abusers. Fear of social media and increased sensitization and ‘humanization’ of those involved in implementing the law; border forces, police, judiciary and etc.

Below is a story of 9-year-old Vannit who was found begging on the streets of Thailand: 

We met Vannit at the confidential shelter for a few minutes when she was brought in to meet us. Looking at her you wouldn’t have any idea what she’s been has been through. Rather, she looks like any bright eyed and intelligent primary school kid which is a testament to the work done with her at the shelter and the bonding established with her counselor.

After Vannit’s parents got divorced her mother took her to Thailand to work. Her mother put her to work making and selling flowers on the street, which is often a front for begging. A child left alone on such streets is highly vulnerable to kidnapping and abuse. She was ‘arrested’ and taken off the street without locating her mother. She was sent by herself to a Thai shelter for 6 months. She was then sent to the transit center from where she was referred to the confidential shelter and entry to the CTC program in August 2015.

Vannet was immediately enrolled in 1st grade, as she hadn’t been in school before. School took Vannet's mind off of missing her mother and gave her something productive to do. On her arrival to the shelter, she could only think of how much she missed her mother. We can only imagine what her mom thinks about her disappearance.  

Vannit told the Reintegration program officer that she lived in Mokul, somewhere near the border. The officer went searching for the grandmother but couldn’t find her. CTC has still not found her mother, but they continue to look. 

Vennit has attempted to escape and look for her mother but the counselor at the shelter advised Vennit that it’s very dangerous to leave the property unaccompanied. Vannit has finally settled down at the shelter and has started to interact with other children. She now enjoys to paint and draw with the other children. The councilor at the shelter keeps Vannit company and helps her with her homework. She now really enjoys her study and is showing signs of great intelligence.

We can only hope that one of these days her mom walks through the door.

Program officers tell us it’s a terrible reality that many trafficked children are separated from their parents in the same way and with no reference to their parents that have no idea if their children are alive, dead or worse.

Thank you to all that support this program! Vannit's hopeful that her mother will return, but until then she is in good hands. She will continue to be enrolled in school and making strides in her studies.

Vannit with the counselor working on homework.
Vannit with the counselor working on homework.
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
 

About Project Reports

Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.

If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating.

Get Reports via Email

We'll only email you new reports and updates about this project.

Organization Information

Lotus Outreach

Location: Ojai, California - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @lotusoutreach
Project Leader:
Maya Norbu
Ojai, CA United States
$27,562 raised of $30,000 goal
 
627 donations
$2,438 to go
Donate Now
lock
Donating through GlobalGiving is safe, secure, and easy with many payment options to choose from. View other ways to donate

Lotus Outreach has earned this recognition on GlobalGiving:
Add Project to Favorites

Help raise money!

Support this important cause by creating a personalized fundraising page.

Start a Fundraiser

Learn more about GlobalGiving

Teenage Science Students
Vetting +
Due Diligence

Snorkeler
Our
Impact

Woman Holding a Gift Card
Give
Gift Cards

Young Girl with a Bicycle
GlobalGiving
Guarantee

Sign up for the GlobalGiving Newsletter

WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.