What Mother's Don't Know
A staggering 47% of Cambodian teenage girls are encouraged into sex trafficking by their mothers. Yes, you read that correctly. 47%. That statistic is like a sucker punch to my gut. When I sat with that number and let the reality sink in a bit, I honestly felt nauseous. It is reality and it’s horrendous. It’s numbers like this that push us. At LandMine Design, we continually strive to make a difference in this number. By building relationships with these mothers and their teenage daughters, LandMine Design has embarked on making that life changing difference.
Som Kim is a beautiful mother living in The Minefield Village in Cambodia where we work. Her story is one of endless suffering as she strives daily to survive in extreme poverty. Her life is all about trying to provide for her four children in a village with no running water, very little food, dangerous jobs, little access to health care, and a home that is nothing more than a dilapidated grass hut. Her reality is a life of sorrow and fear as she deals with a small son with a rare blood disease and no way to pay the medical bills for him to receive the care he needs to survive.
This was Som Kim’s desperate story when LandMine Design entered this village 5 years ago. Som Kim was one of our original hires in the LandMine Design program. She still talks about those dark days of not being able to feed her family with tears in her eyes, and a haunting anguish in her voice. Today Som Kim earns an income. She can feed her family. She is able to get her young son the medical help to treat his rare blood condition. Som Kim now has a light in her eyes that was clouded with pain just a few short years ago. She is a success story, and a testament to the life changes we see happening at LandMine Design.
Recently we received news that Som Kim was thinking of sending her daughter to Thailand for work. A “recruiter” had visited their Village and talked with Som Kim about “helping” her daughter with a job in Thailand. We were chilled to the bone by this news and what this could mean for their family and especially for their beautiful teenage daughter! To a mother seeking a better life for her daughter, this seems like a good option. As a mother myself, I profoundly understand this deep desire to see my children excel. Because of the access I have to information, I realize this kind of ‘recruiting’ isn’t what it seems and is instead is an opening for slavery.These kinds of situations are exactly how many girls and boys are enslaved, especially in that part of the world. The lure and promise of money to a family that is uneducated and in need is often the tipping point for mothers to send their daughters into the realm of slavery. It’s so insidious and hard to comprehend. Som Kim had no idea of the evil intentions of this “recruiter” visiting their village. She was completely uneducated in the ways of the evil sex trafficking world. She is just a mother with her children’s best at heart.
Thankfully we at LandMine Design were able to intervene in this situation and prevent Som Kim from making a terrible mistake. The prevention of situations just like this one is what we’re about at LandMine Design. Each life saved is a victory. Each woman hired is another woman pulled out of desperation, and lifted into a life of hope.
I hope you’ll join us in this work of preventing situations like Som Kim’s from ever being a reality for the ladies, and their families, in the LandMine Design program. The truth is that your purchases and your gifts are having a direct impact in preventing slavery. We’re so honored to be in this work with you and we’re grateful as you join us in the fight to proclaim - prevention is better than cure.