10 May 2016, Kampong Cham – Over 400 participants including local villagers, monks and students attended the launch of the second instalment of the mobile photo exhibition, ‘High Expectations; Hard Realities’, at PortikAmpovoin Svay Teap Pagoda in Chamkar Leu district on 10th of May.
The exhibition was held by the USAID’s Cambodia Countering Trafficking-in-Persons (CTIP) program with support from the ASEAN Youth Leaders Association Cambodia and the Khmer Youth Association. The launch was presided over by Her Excellency Sy Vantha, Kampong Cham Vice Provincial Governor, Vice-Permanent Chair of the Provincial Committee for Counter Trafficking in Persons (PCCT), and Chair of the Provincial Committee for Counter Trafficking in Persons Secretariat, and was also attended by exhibition photographer Ms. Yan Cong, CTIP Chief of Party Ms. Sara Piazzano and the Venerable Sat Seila, monk chief of PortikAmpovoin Svay Teap Pagoda.
H.E. Sy Vantha said that the exhibition enabled the local people, particularly youth, to be aware of the issues related to marriage migration. She also urged people, particularly students, to be aware of migration issues and prevent themselves from being trafficked.
The Venerable Sat Seila warned local people not to be greedy by expecting money from other people by marrying them. ‘It is a lucky draw that in these cases, women end up with being trafficked and only a few are lucky enough to have good family.’
‘I was working on a story about Cambodian women migrating to China for marriage, so…I started to follow Buntha, and until now we have known each other for more than a year and a half’, said documentary photographer Yan Cong.
In an audio clip recorded of Buntha telling her story played for participants during the launch, Buntha warns that ‘There are a lot of Cambodians coming to China. Some people don’t know that there is no money here, and some people come here and receive money. But actually, they ones who receive money are they ones who bring us for trafficking. That’s why they have a lot of money.’
CTIP Chief of Party Sara Piazzano told participants that ‘Today we are here to show you the reality – what it’s like to live in China with a foreign man…think very carefully before migrating, think carefully about what difficulties you may face when you’re there.’
The exhibition features nineteen photos as well as an audio clip of Buntha telling her story. The exhibition aims to raise awareness on migration for marriage in the very same commune where the subject of the exhibition, Buntha, lived in Cambodia before migrating to China. Buntha had asked the exhibition photographer, Ms. Yan Cong to return to her home commune in Kampong Cham to prevent more women migrating aboard for marriage as she did.
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.