By: Barry Rodriguez
One of the most difficult aspects of sex trafficking is that it runs so deep into many other issues. Poverty, corruption, lack of education, hunger… All have ties to the terrible crisis of sexual slavery that is happening all over the world.
There are a few fantastic organizations like the International Justice Mission that are dedicated to rescuing trafficked girls. There are also many safe-houses and reintegration organizations working to care for girls once they have been taken out of the system.
But there are only a handful of organizations that are working to eradicate the root causes of sex trafficking in the first place.
There aren’t many, but there are some.
In a small slum community in Phnom Penh, for example, one organization is dedicated to reversing the cycle of misery…
Welcome to “The Alley,” a tiny community of seven small shacks in Phnom Penh. Too poor to own property,
too poor even to rent, the residents of the Alley have built their homes illegally on a strip of government property.
They live, in essence, in a drainage ditch.
Perched above an open sewer, the people of this tiny “village” live a pretty miserable existence. Kids in the Alley play in the mud, seemingly oblivious to their terrible environment.
(Left photo) This tiny baby was born with fetal alcohol syndrome.
She’s almost two years old.
(Right photo) Because their daughter left to work in Malaysia, this grandmother and her husband must care for their three grandchildren by themselves.
When I gave prints of their picture to some of the boys in the Alley, the one in blue asked me, “Which one is me?” He didn’t even recognize his own face.
Some of the mothers in the Alley are part of byTavi, making a livable wage and learning a life-long trade so that their daughters need not be at risk. Thankfully, the Center for Global Impact is active in this community, attempting to bring holistic restoration to its residents. Some of the girls are loved and protected as part of the Daughter’s Project. They will soon enter a year-long residential program that will train them to make dresses.
There may be misery and hardship in the Alley. But there is also life.
They can enjoy their childhood in peace. The girls of the Alley can be just that…
For more info visit www.worldnextdoor.org