Victims of modern slavery are often hidden in plain sight, engaged in seemingly legitimate businesses within our local economies. The control exerted over them can be subtle and financial or psychological as well as brutal and physical; this can keep the crime, the criminal, its victim, and their plight invisible to an unknowing public.
Nearly 15% of the general population of Cambodia continue to live in extreme poverty. And with 90% of Cambodia’s population living in rural areas, that’s an estimated 4.5M vulnerable people living in precarious situations who are at high risk of exploitation.
These statistics are concerning, as we know poverty increases vulnerability and the risk of human trafficking. A report published by ECPAT in 2018, highlights this fact, stating that the sexual exploitation of children in Cambodia has increased considerably over the last twenty years, as vulnerability is continuing to increase across the region.
According to the 2017 US Department of State (USDOS) TIP Report “Children [in Cambodia] from impoverished families were vulnerable to forced labor, often with the complicity of their families, including in domestic servitude and forced begging or street vending in Thailand”. In partnership with the Cambodian government, A21 aim to reduce the likelihood of victimization, raise awareness for situations of trafficking, and provide potentially life-saving aid to those currently in situations of exploitation.
A21's Can you see me? project: Cambodia
A21 are currently working on a campaign where they have a special arrangement with the Cambodian authorities to create two films that will shine a light on the threat that is at an all-time high in Cambodia.
Story 1: Forced Pregnancies
This is a story of two best friends, Seila and Chantra (17 years old). They were trafficked from their village to another country with promises of jobs and good pay. However, this turns into a situation of trafficking and childbearing for a foreign family. When the family's goals have been met, it's then a matter of life and death to get home and the fight for independence and justice.
Our campaign focus is to disrupt this by prevention and making people aware so that the authorities, in concert with A21, can work with local communities to stamp out this horrendous crime.
Story 2: Online Child Exploitation
A young girl and two siblings from a rural village; after a series of disasters, losing her mother to cancer and her father no longer being employed decides to quit school to support the family. Her life seems to have no meaning and gets caught up in an online romance that has a terrible twist of fate. All over the world, the threat of online child exploitation is at an all-time high. The digital world has become a constant threat that families and children need to be aware of. Many children live with the reality of a perpetrator extorting them for sex in secret, where images are shared online to satisfy the needs of pedophiles all over the world. We must take action to disrupt this growing cycle of abuse to protect the innocent while sending a clear message to the perpetrators that the net is closing in.
A21 also have active ongoing projects in Thailand and Cambodia focused on the Rescue and Restoration of children as well as the Reach, Rescue and Restoration of Men, Women and children in Greece in Bulgaria.
Who is A21?
A21's core mission is to abolish slavery. They believe that every human life is valuable and by valuing every single life, we can take incredible strides in combating human trafficking. A21 value collaboration and believe that they're but a piece of the puzzle. A21 always aim to be gap-fillers, fulfilling a need in a country or community. Whether that is a resource line, a campaign or a Freedom Center, they always want to be a part of the solution in every country they work in.
Because the problem looks different everywhere A21 works, so do their teams. Their programs are designed to work together, but can also stand alone–filling critical gaps in the countries and communities they work in. Their solutions are Reach, Rescue and Restore.
Reach is the difference between vulnerability and safety. Educating and equipping everyone to understand, identify, and reduce the risk of human trafficking through programs like educational curriculum, prevention programs, and awareness campaigns. An example of this is the “Can you see me” campaign which shows common scenarios of human trafficking that may be encountered in the community and provides tools to report suspicions. This campaign has had a reach of billions.
Rescue is the difference between exploitation and freedom. Partnering with authorities to secure the freedom of victims and the conviction of human traffickers through programs like hotlines, child advocacy centers, identification training and legal support.
Restore is the difference between revictimisation and independence. Empowering survivors of human trafficking on their unique journey toward restoration and independence through programs like holistic aftercare, safe accommodation, and relocation services.
A21 measure success by the lives that are impacted through their work. Every time a victim is identified and brought into their care, every time a survivor takes a step toward independence, every time a trafficker is put in prison, they consider it a success.
To produce the two films outlined above, A21 need to raise the following:
- a pre-production budget of £70,000 per film = 140 thousand total to facilitate the shooting and delivery of the films, and
- a post-production budget of £30,000 per film = 60 thousand total to provide formats for TV, Airports, train stations, bus stops etc., to disseminate the message across Cambodia and beyond into SE Asia.
You can fight human trafficking right now. Find out 21 ways to do this.
Supporters can pray for the continued expansion of A21 as well as the financial growth within Europe so they can continue to reach for prevention and also rescue and restore the lives of the vulnerable.
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