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‘Trafficked’ teen seeks repatriation from China

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The victim posted to Facebook from China on March 4 asking Prime Minister Hun Sen to assist her return to Cambodia. Facebook

‘Trafficked’ teen seeks repatriation from China

Preah Vihear provincial anti-human trafficking police are cooperating with the National Police’s Department of Anti-Human Trafficking and Juvenile Protection to help a Cambodian teenager who says she is being held against her will in China.

This intervention by the authorities came about after the victim posted to Facebook from China on March 4 asking Prime Minister Hun Sen to assist her return to Cambodia.

Prang Thida, deputy provincial police chief for anti-human trafficking, told The Post that the victim was a 17-year-old Cambodian girl who had previously resided in Preah Vihear province.

Thida said the victim posted a video asking for help on March 4, but she did not clearly indicate what her location was.

The Facebook video includes a request that Cambodians share it widely so that her message might reach the prime minister, in hopes that he would be able to help her return home.

“I was cheated by a broker in 2019 when I was just 15. I was sold to [a man in] China at that age. They detained me and would not allow me to contact my family.

“They’ve beaten me, kicked me and locked me in a room. I do not want to stay in China anymore. I am afraid they will beat me again or sell me to somebody else,” she said.

According to Thida, two women – Kheng Hun, 55, and Voeun Phorn, 44 – are already in prison for their involvement in this girl’s case following the victim’s mother’s lawsuit in 2020 over their role in her daughter being trafficked to China.

According to the victim’s mother, brokers sent pictures of four Chinese men – two older men and two younger men – for her daughter to choose from and after seeing the photos of the Chinese men the victim told her mother that she had decided to marry one of them because life was too difficult in Cambodia.

Mao Mab of rights group Adhoc said that human trafficking brokers will lie to the victims and promise them salaries of $500 or $1000 a month working abroad, taking advantage of Cambodia’s poverty and poor standards of living as well as the loan debt many victims owe to banks these days.

“The methods of the brokers are systematically fraudulent, such as obtaining false travel documents for the victims to ensure they can reach China. After arriving in China, the broker’s partners there take control of the victim,” she said.

She said that human trafficking – including labour trafficking and sex trafficking – takes place not only in China, but also in countries like Malaysia and Thailand and that the provinces in Cambodia most often targeted by brokers are Kampong Cham, Tbong Khmum, Battambang and Preah Vihear.

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