18-23 May 2016, Siem Reap – The launch of the last installment of the mobile photo
exhibition, ‘High Expectations; Hard Realities’, was held on May 18th at Build Bright University in Siem Reap with over 100 student participants, and was presided over by H.E. You Sophea, Provincial Deputy Governor, Permanent Vice Chair of the Provinvial Committee for Counter Trafficking Siem Reap and the Chair of the PCCT Secretariat. The launch was also attended by the the Rector of Build Bright University Siv Vuthy, USAID’s Cambodia Countering Trafficking-in-Persons (CTIP) program Chief of Party Sara Piazzano, CTIP partner Samaritan’s Purse and ASEAN Youth Leaders Association Cambodia representatives.
The exhibition depicted the struggles and disappointments of a Cambodian bride in China, aiming to raise awareness the dangers of migration to China for marriage.
In a speech to students, H.E You Sophea addressed the misperception of marriage to foreigners, and wanrned that blindness to the reality of the situation may lead women to make a decision that could lead them into a trap.
The Rector of the university stated that “The exhibition has brought about new knowledge for students to prevent themselves, their families and peers from making the wrong decision and being victimized by trafficking.”
The event included a live video call with Chinese documentary photographer Yan Cong, who explained the concept and aim of the exhibition to students and other participants from Beijing, China. “When Sara came up with the idea of showing the photos to people in Cambodia I was immediately excited. We hope more young women in Cambodia see and better understand the real condition of a Cambodian bride in my photos.
“I hope you’re going to help us to raise awareness with other people, discuss with your friends and relatives to have more informed and safer migration”, CTIP Chief of Party Sara Piazzano told participants.
The exhibition was held by CTIP with support from the ASEAN Youth Leaders Association, and features nineteen photos as well as an audio clip of Buntha telling her story.
Since 2013, USAID’s Cambodia Countering Trafficking-in-Persons (CTIP) program has been working on the frontline to raise awareness with the public on the increasing trend of women undertaking risky migration to China for marriage. The video produced by the program in 2014, Bride with Price Tag, has been shown in schools and communities across Cambodia, and the project has assisted 34 women so far to return home from China and restart their lives. As a result of this campaign, the government is now in the process of signing an agreement with China to prevent human trafficking through marriages.