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Child Trafficked into Forced Labour

Forcefully taken from her family at the age of four, Sophea was subjected to years of compelled service. Although her mother didn't treat her well and abused her from a young age, life got worse for little Sophea. Over the next eight years, she was made to serve many different families who treated her with much violence. They starved her and beat her up until she submitted to their commands. She tried to escape many times and also attempted to commit suicide by jumping off the window but only managed to break her ankle.
Learning about a Christian dormitory offering education and lodging, Sophea made up her mind to escape and stole away in the dark of night on a bicycle belonging to a child in the family she was at. The villagers whom she met disallowed her to continue travelling because she was such a young child. They sent her to the commune chief was filled with compassion for her and let her stay in his house.

The chief and his wife went to great lengths to keep her safe. She was extremely fearful and any sound would cause her to run and hide under the table. It had been a long time since she had felt kindness and this made Sophea feel light and warm inside; it was as if she was loved. The chief sent her to school and referred her to HAGAR to help her to heal emotionally.

Sophea has been with HAGAR for 12 years. Graduating on a scholarship in Social Work, she is now working with the local communities to educate families on the value of nutrition and engages the various groups and schools in the communities. She experienced some anxiety in the initial weeks at the prospect of her job. But her desire to help the needy, and prevent trafficking and abuse, has propelled her to overcome her fears. Sophea is a strong advocate and hopes to gain experience so that she can make lasting impact on communities in the long run. She regularly meets the chief's children in Phnom Penh and she misses him and the family. They fondly remember her as their sister and daughter and hope to see each other again.