Restoring hope to trafficked girls in Cambodia

by Hagar USA, which supports the work of Hagar International
Vetted
Apr 13, 2012

Pursuing Justice for Trafficked Girls

Priscilla Chan, Hagar
Priscilla Chan, Hagar's New Legal Advisor

For a child in a Cambodian courtroom, the experience can be harrowing. Child witnesses need to testify while standing right next to their abusers. The same ones who sold, raped them for profit, or exploited them. Then, sometimes the judge laughs at a young child's testimony. Sometimes the perpetrator’s friends or family jeer. Children may be told that it is their fault. It's in stark contrast to child-friendly practices common in developed countries.  

At Hagar last year, 38 clients—most of them children – were involved in court cases in Cambodia.  

We’re committed to make the situation better. We launched two initiatives in 2011 to help support clients through the legal process. A new Hagar Legal and Protection Unit includes a Cambodian lawyer and expatriate advisor, who ensure that clients are informed and supported.  They accompany clients on appointments.  They prepare them for court. Because, when a young girl stands up in court, speaks the truth, and is believed, it is a key part of the whole journey, from victim to survivor.

Also, Hagar and two other organizations began collaborating with the Cambodian Ministry of Justice to increase the child-friendliness of the system. Along with an art therapy consultant, we are designing a waiting room with the goal of providing a sanctuary. Children will be brought to the courtroom only when it is time for their voices to be heard. They will be exposed to less trauma, accusations and chaos. Last year, all concluded Hagar Cambodia legal cases resulted in a positive outcome.  The perpetrator was convicted, sentenced, and fined.  These results are not just a testament to good legal support. They reflect inner strength, good recovery services, and each person’s resilience.

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Organization Information

Hagar USA, which supports the work of Hagar International

Location: Charlotte, NC - USA
Website: http:/​/​www.hagarusa.org
Project Leader:
Catherine Sherrod
Director of Development
Eau Claire, WI United States

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Thanks to 634 donors like you, a total of $127,262 was raised for this project on GlobalGiving. Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
   

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