This is a story of vulnerability and prevention. Sometimes children are lucky and come into the care of agencies and those working on keeping children safe.
Raksmey is one of these.
She was taken into care at a confidential shelter due to the fact her main caregivers were absent and when her mother came back into the picture, she planned to take her out of school and send her to work in Thailand–with all the vulnerabilities and dangers that come with that.
Fortunately, in her case, she had enough education and presence of mind to know something was terribly wrong and to make the police complaint that led to her getting the help she needed.
This is her story…
Raksmey, now 16 years old, was born in Ochrov district of Banteay Meanchey province, right on the Cambodian Thai border. When she was five years old, her parents divorced and went their own ways.
Raksmey was sent to live with a woman in another area of Cambodia. Soon after, her mother migrated to work in Thailand and her father never came to visit her. In a sense, she was orphaned.
Fortunately while staying with this woman, Raksmey was able to complete her studies through 10th grade. However when her benefactor began to face extreme financial difficulty and could no longer support her, this all changed.
Raksmey’s mother came to know about the situation and came back from Thailand to take Raksmey with her. At first her mother promised she would allow Raksmey to continue studying, but as soon as they arrived near the border town, her mother told her she would have to work with her in Thailand.
Raksmey implored her mother not to go to Thailand She wanted to continue her studies and graduated high school. Her mother could not agree to this so Raksmey decided to take action.
On 10 February 2019, while her mother was taking a nap, Raksmey ran away from home. She went straight to the police to report her story and seek their intervention.
The police took this young girls’ story seriously, demonsterating a keen familiarity with human trafficking and exploitation. After registering her case she was referred to the confidential shelter for support, counseling and her eventual reintegration into a safe situation where she could continue on a positive path.
The confidential shelter’s initial assessment of her case and state was that she was in a difficult situation and facing a high risk of being exploited — by her very own mother.
Currently, Raksmey resides in the shelter. The shelter team identified some of her relatives living in the town nearby. They agreed to bring Raksmey to live with them and to support her living and her study. Being in the same town, the shelter staff will closely monitor Raksmey’s situation and additionally are helping to identify further study options for her.
It now looks like Raksmey will be able to complete her schooling and work toward reaching her full potential in life.