Modern-Day Slavery

This Video Essay was submitted by Tim Matsui

As the Khmer Rouge trials proceed, Cambodia continues to search for recognition, resolution and healing. The country’s traumas stem from genocide and 30 years of occupation and civil war. Many Cambodians are repeating their traumas, inflicting them upon subsequent generations. One of those stories is human slavery.

These three video clips tell part of that story. This first clip is of Sophea. Educated and of a relatively wealthy background, she is still dogged by seeing the execution of her father by child soldiers. Her trauma persists today. As an outlet for her pain she grew involved with ASEFIP, an organization that works to eliminate sex trafficking in Cambodia and to care for survivors.

Sophea, Khmer Rouge Survivor

Cambodia: Sophea from timmatsui.com on Vimeo.

The second clip is of Srey Neth. Because her family was poor, her mother sold Srey Neth to a pimp at age 14. After years of recovery, she uses her suffering to motivate herself to help others. I met Srey Neth at Transitions Global, which employs a transitional living model. The living center helps victimized teens regain their sense of self, their hopes and dreams, and provides them with education and skills. These young women have opportunities exceeding those of many Cambodians; they go on to become teachers, computer techs and translators.

Victim-Survivor Srey Neth

Cambodia: Srey Neth from timmatsui.com on Vimeo.

In the third clip I interviewed migrants who cross the border into Thailand in search of work. Marginalized through the threat of deportation, migrant workers are especially vulnerable to exploitation. Traffickers sometimes sell them into brothels or the fishing industry.

Migration Through Koh Kong

Cambodia: Koh Kong from timmatsui.com on Vimeo.

Without the help of the NGO's and NPO's working in this field, it would be nearly impossible to report on human slavery. I worked particularly closely with two nonprofits,Legal Support for Children and Women, and Healthcare Center for Children. Both provided me logistical support and hospitality I am grateful for. One man with LSCW, Mom Sokchar, is daunted by the insurmountable challenges of poverty, corruption, and migration but still throws himself headlong into the fight. In this I find inspiration.

As a journalist I come and go, observing then publishing and licensing what I can of their story. Often I provide pro-bono image licensing; I feel it's the least I can do. This is not a get-rich-quick scheme, but the stories of people like Sokchar, the Ponds, or Srey Neth encourage me to carry on when I'm in the field, exhausted, or facing another grant rejection. Their strength reinforces my belief that I can help others understand their personal role in the global story of modern-day slavery. And Cambodia, I know, is just one chapter.

Tim Matsui
Transitions Global
Legal Support for Children and Women
Healthcare Center for Children

No comments:

Post a Comment