August 2016, Phnom Penh – In November 2013, 27-year-old Srey Leap* left Phnom Penh with four other Cambodian women for China. She left her family and village on the promise of a high-paying factory job that would allow her to support her family. However, when the women arrived, they were forced to marry Chinese men or pay $1,000 to the brokers, and none of them had $1,000 to pay. Srey Leap was forced to marry a Chinese man, and after giving birth to a child he and his family became abusive towards her, believing she would try to run away with the baby. She was isolated in a room for long periods of time and banned from outside communication and contact. She suffered extreme sexual, mental and economic abuse.
Srey Leap secretly called her family for help, who contacted USAID’s Cambodia Countering Trafficking-in-Persons (CTIP) program partner ADHOC. Meanwhile, Srey Leap managed to escape from her husband’s house, but she was arrested by Chinese police and imprisoned. ADHOC filed a request for her release with both the Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cambodian Consulate in China. After four months and 20 days, she was finally freed from prison. Money was sent to the Cambodian Embassy by the Chinese police for her air-ticket back to Cambodia and she was quickly issued with a document allowing her to return to Cambodia.
Without the strong coordination carried out by ADHOC, the difficult process of Srey Leap’s release from jail and return to Cambodia would not have been possible. She finally returned from China to Cambodia in June 2016 and has now found a new job and is pursuing her studies.
*Name changed to protect the survivor’s identity.