3 May 2016, Phnom Penh – More than 100 participants attended the launch of the mobile photo exhibition, ‘High Expectations; Hard Realities’, at the Royal University of Law and Economics (RULE) in Phnom Penh on the 3rd May, collaboratively organized by the USAID Countering Trafficking-in-Persons Program (CTIP) and the ASEAN Youth Leaders Association Cambodia (AYLA).
The launch was presided over by Her Excellency Chou Bun Eng, Secretary of State and Permanent Vice Chair of the National Committee for Counter Trafficking in Persons (NCCT), Ms. Sok Yan, Vice Rector of RULE; Ms. Sara Piazzano, Chief of Party, CTIP program; Yan Cong, Chinese documentary photographer; USAID representative Makara Ou; two CTIP Non-Governmental Organization partners and a youth representative. Documenting Buntha’s story in photos since October 2014, Yan Cong invited the audience to view marriage trafficking on an individual level, rather than simply in terms of the statistics of women being trafficked. “I hope people become more aware of the issue and care about this group of people by understanding their lives and connecting with them on a personal level” she said.
Sara Piazzano, Chief of Party of Winrock for the USAID’s CTIP Program, explained that “In the last four years, Winrock, through USAID’s funding support, has assisted 34 women to return from China and reintegrate in their communities after experiences of abuse and exploitation. […] Of course, not all women who migrate to China end up in an exploitative situation, but it is important that people are aware of the difficulties and problems they may face once abroad and be prepared for that.”
The exhibition depicts the struggles and disappointments of a Cambodian bride, Buntha, living in China with her Chinese husband and son. Nineteen photos accompanied by a two and a half minutes of Butha’s audio help audiences visualize the subject’s hardships, regrets, and homesickness. The exhibition aims to educate Cambodians (particularly single women and their parents) to be cautious of making decision to migrate to China for marriage. As well as Phnom Penh, the mobile photo exhibition will be held in Kampong Cham (Chamkar Lue district) and Siem Reap.