I have been volunteering for a week at The Human Rights Organisation for Transparency and Peace, I've learnt so much already and love the president of the organisation Mam Sitha who is one of the most amazing, strong, fierce and loving women I've ever met.
My favourite quote of hers ''I am a social justice defender. Do not violate the procedure otherwise I will sue" - Mam Sitha
I have started a blog for members of the organisation to post updates of what they are working on. Below is something I wrote for the blog.
Over the last few years various businesses have approached families suffering from poverty in the Province's of Cambodia looking for cheap labor from young girls to work as maids, they have persuaded their families that their daughters can work for 2 years in Malaysia, sending the money home and flying them back to Cambodia when the contract ends, providing they sign a contract to state the girls are 21 (the legal age of work in Malaysia).
The women in the picture below have been unable to contact their daughters for over a year now and have not received any payment the company promised them. They are now worried they may have been sold in to sex trafficking. This has led them to sink into further poverty as they have travelled to Phnom Penh in search for help to get their daughters back. To afford this travel they have had to borrow money from the banks at a high interest rate, with limited ways of paying it back.
However, due to their hard work, HROTP have been able to meet with the police and a representative of company this week.
On the 6th March Mrs. Sokma Suo, Mrs. Hin Soy and Mrs. Ho Leam were able to travel from Kampong Thom to the CIACC HROTP office in Phnom Penh where they were excited to meet the volunteers and brought them fruits wrapped in banana leaves as a token of their appreciation. That night they slept on the office floor unable to afford a bed for the night.
On the morning of the 7th March four members of the CIACC team and the three ladies from Kampong Thom travelled to the police station where they were asked to tip the guards to be let in. The meeting commenced with the police officer discussing why Mrs Ho Leam was unable to receive payment after her daughter sent the money, the company admitted to taking this money but explained it to be for security reasons, fortunately this was resolved and the representative counted out the money and handed it to the police officer which Mam Sitha, the president of Human Rights Organization for Transparency and Peace, quickly took off him to make sure the currency wasn't counterfeit. Mrs Ho Leam was then asked to sign her name for the official police records but was unable to do so as she is illiterate, one of the many reasons the women would not of been able to make this journey alone.
Mrs Hin Soy's daughter aged 13, was able to be reached by telephone, when listening to their conversation we were assured the daughter was safe and she apologized for not being able to send the money, she did not indicate to why she wasn't able to send the money home. She showed concern for her mother asking if she had enough food and water to feed her brothers and sisters but the mother replied no as her house had been burnt down, she went on to ask her daughter if she could arrange for the money to be sent to her as soon as possible. When asked why she didn't contact her mother she replied she didn't have her number. It is unsure how much of this is true but Mrs Hin Soy left happy that she had spoken to her daughter and would be receiving the money soon.
Mrs Sokma Suos daughter was not able to be located; during the meeting she starred longingly into a photo that she passed over to the volunteers to show them . The representative of the company said he would get her to call her when he could locate her. He didn't want to say where she was at the moment as he didn't want to be accused of lying. Mam Sitha pushed for him to promise her a video call, so he agreed. Mam Sitha handed her business card with her phone number to the policemen and company representative; she then took his number to ensure he kept his word.
Overall the meeting was a success and the case was closed to end conflict and the complaint against the company. A document has been written up by the police to ensure the company representative stays true to his word, if the representative doesn't comply to the document the company will be taken to court.