A Cambodia woman, who says she was a victim of human trafficking, has a cautionary tale to prevent for other young women from falling prey to traffickers who promise them a better life in China.
Chenda (not her real name) said she managed to escape from an abusive husband who tortured and raped her and turned her into a slave after her parents paid Cambodian human traffickers to illegally take her to China in 2013 to marry a Chinese man.
She has urged other young Cambodian women not to believe traffickers who offer them a better life in China.
“I would like to inform all of them, please don’t go,” she said. “They [the traffickers] will sell you. Please don’t believe them.”
Chenda’s parents also cautioned the parents of other young women not to make the same mistake as they did.
Chenda said she managed to escape China last month and return to her home in eastern Cambodia’s Thbong Khmom province.
She was born to a poor family and left school when she was five years old to work on her parents’ farm, she said.
When Chenda was older, she said human traffickers told her that marrying a foreign husband would offer her a better life.
“I was cheated,” she told RFA’s Khmer Service. “They said that if I went there [to China], I would be rich. They said that I would have a job and make enough money to send home.”
At 17, she left her hometown when her family paid a human trafficker U.S. $500 for a fake identity so she could legally marry a Chinese man.
Forced to Marry
She was alone for two months, before she was forced to marry someone.
“They forced me to marry him,” she said. “Otherwise, they said they would sue my parents, so I agreed.”
Her passport was confiscated, and she was forced to serve her husband and his family.
Chenda did not say where in China she was taken or share details about the family she was married into.
But she later realized that she was sold to her husband for about U.S. $15,000 dollars, she said.
Although she was tortured and treated poorly by the man’s family, whenever she phoned her parents, she told them she was fine.
Chenda wanted to escape, but at the time she was pregnant, Chenda said.
After she gave birth, she fled to a Cambodian diplomatic mission in China, which issued her a passport so she could return home.
It took a month before she could go back to Cambodia on Jan. 14, but she had to leave her three-month-old boy in China.
At present, she does not have a job, but has been singing at some private ceremonies to make money.
Kuy Kuong, Cambodia’s spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said at least 58 women who had been trafficked to China to marry Chinese men were rescued last year.
But he said the trafficking issue would not affect the two countries’ relations because it was a personal issue, and that the government would continue helping victims.
“We are working hard to help them [trafficked women],” he said. “We never ignore them.”
Last year, the Cambodian government asked China to restrict the number of visas it issued to single Cambodian women to prevent the brokering of marriages to Chinese men, VOA reported.
The appeal came as more Cambodian women became victims of human trafficking and had brokered marriages to Chinese men.
Reported by Sau Sokprathna for RFA’s Khmer Service. Translated by Samean Yun. Written in English by Roseanne Gerin.