Consoling Through Counseling helps to provide trauma therapy, social assistance, and small business grants to survivors of human trafficking, sexual abuse and domestic violence residing in a women’s shelter in rural Cambodia. This is a report from the field from Lotus Outreach Executive Director, Glenn Fawcett.
The importance of the Consoling Through Counseling program is underscored by the fact that a large proportion of victims of trafficking and sexual abuse cases referred over the past few years have been children.
The past 10 years has also seen a major shift for the better in the attitude of police and judiciary, resulting in huge percentage-wise increases in arrests and convictions in cases of rape and sexual abuse.
The legal program run by Lotus Outreach’s CTC partner, Cambodian Women’s Crisis Centre, has played a very integral part by pushing for reform and action to reduce high pendency in cases of abuse against women and children.
15-year-old Srey Tuich (name changed to protect her identity) has recently completed a series of six court hearings culminating in the conviction of the ringleader of a “trafficking for begging” ring in Bangkok. CTC program counselor, Soknyi, accompanied Tuich to each and every hearing — five times to the Thai border and once to Bangkok for the final closing of the case.
Tuich is fourth in a family of seven siblings from the Cambodian province of Kompong Thom. Her biological father is in jail for raping his own daughter. Piling tragedy upon tragedy, her mother then separated and took another husband who beat the children regularly.
Tuich has a hearing problem and physically seems to have the condition of dwarfism. Her mother, seeking to exploit her, contacted a person that managed a 10-children begging team in Bangkok, and Tuich was taken to Thailand and left there to beg.
She was not allowed to call her mother, was beaten, tortured, and forced to beg. Tuich ran away one time and was caught so they tortured her; after which she did not run away again.
Thankfully, Thai Police arrested her and deported her to Cambodia, and on September 7, 2016 she entered safe shelter and the Consoling Through Counseling program.
Police are still looking for her mother, as she was the instigator in the trafficking of Tuich. Tuich continues to attend school while the program searches for a non-governmental organization to provide care for her long-term.