By Lavonne Cloke | Senior Regional Communication Office, Asia
Thanks to your donation, we are seeing many vulnerable Camboian children being provided with the immediate psychosocial and medical care they need following cases of trauma related to sexual exploitation in the travel and tourism industry.
One such child is Villa - a 14-year old female from Phnom Penh Cambodia. Villa lived with her mother and six siblings in a small rental room in a poor community near the riverside. Her father left her family when she was 10 to live with a new wife, leaving her mother to be the only wage earner for the family. Along with her siblings, Villa collected cans and begged for money from tourists to try to get by. Her mother urged her to drop out of school so she could devote all of her time to begging.
In 2013, she met an older tourist from the US when she was begging for money near the riverside. He befriended her, gave her money and visited her on a daily basis. Once he had gained her trust, he convinced her to let him abuse her. For two years, he abused Villa until police in Phnom Penh arrested him in 2015. Villa was rescued, assessed and provided with immediate health care and psychosocial support and placed in a shelter. During the time that Villa was in the shelter, she was also provided with legal support and counseled to testify in court and seek justice against her perpetrator.
In 2016, Villa's perpetrator was found guilty of purchasing child prostitution and sentenced to ten years in prison.
She is still working hard to overcome her trauma and sees a counselor and social worker twice weekly to recover from her trauma and look to the future. She dreams of becoming a hairdresser and opening her own salon someday.
Thanks to your donation, we are able to continue to provide this much needed support to children who are vulnerable to sexual exploitation in Cambodia.
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