Lina’s Story Survivor of human trafficking and modern slavery

A 21 years old young woman, Lina (not real name), a survivors of trafficking and modern slavery was born in a very poor family in Kompong Speu province. She is the first child of five children in the family. Her father passed away in 2014, and her mother married another man.  

When she was 20 years old, in early 2019 when she was at home, a woman named Klok, about 27 years old from Svay Reang province married to a Chines man called Lina and convinced her to work in China with high salary. The woman promised to cover all of Lina’s expense such as transportation, food, accommodation, and any document required in order to help Lina left home in Cambodia. Without having discussed with family and other friends/relatives, Lina agreed to go with the woman as she wanted to make money to support her family as she felt it is her responsibility to support her family after the father passed away.  

Klok then facilitated Lina to meet a couple in Phnom Penh capital. Lina could not remember their names or contact. The two people help processed everything for her traveling to China. After processing a quick passport, she was referred by that couple to a strange man who took her in a car and drove to the Cambodia-Vietnam’s border (Bavet). At the border, the man referred her to a Vietnamese man and that man took her into Vietnamese territory and transferred her to China by boat.  

In China, Lina stayed with that man for a few days, then she was forced to marry a Chinese man. She was shocked and refused to marry him but they were asking her to payback all the cost that they spent to bring her to China. She did not know how she could return to Cambodia as well as she did not know anybody else. She has no choice, but to live with the Chinese man. This was not why she came to China and her family did not know anything about what happened to her.  

Lina moved to live with a Chinese man with other six family’s members. Lina was forced to work as a construction worker. Besides working, she was often beaten by the husband and another six people in the family when they wanted her to do something for them and they weren’t satisifed. Lina got pregnant and yet was still forced to work as construction worker and abused. They took all the money she earnt from work, and was not given enough food to eat. They treated her like a slave. After delivering a baby girl a month later, she was separated from her baby. Lina was able to contacted Klok to help her get out oif this abusive situation.  

The broker referred her to another Chinese man with assurance that he was a good man, but the truth was that the second Chinese man was even more aggressive and abusive. Life was dark, there was no love nor care, and she decided that enough is enough and planned to escape. A few months later, she ran to the police station to seek support. She told the police that her documents were lost. The Police then contacted the Chinese man to take her back but Lina cried and refused to go back. As a result, she was arrested and put in jail for 3 months, living in very bad condition (no enough food to eat and bad sanitation) before they sent her to the Cambodian Embassy without nothing. She felt empty, no energy, and missed her baby. 

On 26 May 2021, Lina and two other survivors were referred to Hagar by the Cambodia’s Ministry of Social Affair, Veterans and Youth (MoSVY) after two weeks quarantine. Hagar brought Lina and other the two other survivors to the “Home of Love” to live with a kind hearted and professional foster mother trained by Hagar. All of them received a warm welcome from the foster mother.

The foster mother has been caring for survivors for more than a decade and has provided them with the warm care and love they really need.  A case manager, counsellor, and legal officer were assigned to work with her and other survivors. Since she had nothing besides what she wore, Hagar bought her some clothes, shoe, and hygiene materials.  

After Lina had settled, her case manager accompanied her to a clinic known to specialise in women’s health for a checkup. She was shocked when her test results showed she had a very serious STD that required to have an urgent treatment and she was HIV positive. She cried and cried, felt lost and hopeless. The case manager and counsellor encouraged her and comforted her to stand strong. People with HIV can live long lives through taking  good care of themselves with regular check-ups and treatment. Through our counselling and therapy, as well as loving care and encouragement, Lina has gained her strength to continue her life.

 “They got my body, my soul and my hope. But I am really happy when I first arrived Cambodia and I am so grateful to have warm welcomed by Hagar’s team and staying at the Home of Love. I feeling free and loved by the foster mother and Hagar staffs. They love me, care for me, smile at me, and encourage me to stay strong, which give me hope and gain back my strength to continue my life, and I love her too,” Lina said 

 “I have trusted Hagar’s staffs since I first met them at the hotel where I stayed for my 14 days quarantine, and they brought me to the Home of Love. Now I will go with Hagar staff to continue my health check-up and treatment as RHAC’s clinic as recommended. I really missed my mother and I wanted to go to meet her, and my whole family to apologise them for my attitude of decided to go to China with just informing them on the day of my leaving;” she added. 

The Hagar team helped find her family and connect them with her. Hagar worked closely with MoSVY and local authority for a family assessment to ensure safe reintegration. Her family were very happy to hear from her. They were waiting to welcome her home after all the assessment have been done and she has received the prescription from the doctor for her health treatment.  

Through working in close collaboration with MoSVY and local authorities, Lina was successfully reintegrated on 16th June 2021. When the car arrived in front of her house, Lina couldn’t wait to see her mother. She quickly run toward her. The two of them cried and hugged each other tightly. It was tears of joy at the emotional reunion. 

“It is beyond words I should have expressed my gratefulness to Hagar and government who help my daughter and bring her back safety to us. I thought I lost her forever.  We are praying to see her again and now our dream is come true. Thank you so much for all of your kindness supporting my daughter and my family,” her mother said with tears. 

Lina is now feeling safe and enjoying being with her family as well as taking care of her younger siblings. She wants to help her mother earn income to support family. She is the oldest child in the family with four younger siblings. With Hagar’s support, Lina has been helped to not focus on her trauma history.  She has felt loved and cared from by our foster mother at the Home of Love. She thanks Hagar for taking care of her and loving her without any discrimination.  

Hagar team works with her and family intensively to develop a safety plan, provide physical and emotional healing, legal counselling, and economic empowerment for the rest of the family members. After receiving career counseling from Hagar staff, Lina was willing to start working so that she can help her family living condition. 

 “Hagar helps me to experience love and has courage me to fight for the future. I want to learn and open a salon business at my community so that I can earn income to support my family. I wish I can do something that can protect other young women from being trafficked like me,” she added. 

Hagar team will continue working with her in the recovery journey to focus more on her strengths and dream which will help her to get out from past trauma experience and become resilient.   

Hagar pursues the highest degree of care and protection for each of its clients. To protect the identity of our clients, names have been changed and images do not necessarily represent the individual profiled.

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By partnering with Hagar, you’re supporting survivors to heal from the trauma of severe abuse. Our work is dependent on charitable giving by people like you.

Help us transform lives

Donate now

By partnering with Hagar, you’re supporting survivors to heal from the trauma of severe abuse. Our work is dependent on charitable giving by people like you.

Help us transform lives

Donate now

By partnering with Hagar, you’re supporting survivors to heal from the trauma of severe abuse. Our work is dependent on charitable giving by people like you.

Help us transform lives

Donate now

By partnering with Hagar, you’re supporting survivors to heal from the trauma of severe abuse. Our work is dependent on charitable giving by people like you.

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