This year for Advent Conspiracy with Steps of Justice we are giving towards The Punlue Jivet Center- A Ministry for Sex Trafficked Victims. This ministry is located in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Here is the reality and what Pina and her team are doing to prevention it. Please read through the below info and see how you can get involved this Advent season.
The Sex Trade
- There are approximately 80,000 – 100,000 prostitutes in Cambodia and 17,000 of them in Phnom Penh.
- 30% of prostitutes are below 18 years old age.
- According to UN, a third of all prostitutes in Cambodia have HIV or AIDS.
Why is this happening?
- Impoverished families are forced to resort to selling their daughters into prostitution to get money in times of crisis e.g. illness or accident of a family member.
- Girls who come from broken families, are orphaned, living with relatives, have sisters or friends already in the sex trade or have parents who have a drug or alcohol addiction are more likely to be lured into prostitution.
- Cultural beliefs that sleeping with a virgin or child promises youthfulness, healing and happiness.
- Lack of education and vocational training opportunities has created a large segment of unskilled workers seeking employment in Cambodia.
- Currently, the rate of new jobs is much lower than the growth in the labour force. 50% of the population are under 20 years of age with around 200,000 people entering the labour force each year.
- International economic fluctuations have caused the closure of numerous garment factories. This trend forces women to shift to higher risk sectors such as entertainment industry, working in massage parlours, karaoke bars and beer gardens.
The Vision of Pina and her team.
Our vision is to reach out to women who are victimized and disadvantaged, allowing them to encounter God’s love and to start a new life with hope and dignity.
The Women of Wat Phnom
Located in the northern area of Phnom Penh’s riverside, Wat Phnom is notoriously known as a red-light district. During all hours of the day, girls in their teens to women in their fifties work as prostitutes. Most are homeless and seek refuge at night in the temple gardens.
- Many of the women at Wat Phnom are pregnant and cannot afford to look after their children. In many cases, abortion or selling their newborns is the only option.
- The main reason women stay in the sex trade is because there is a lack in alternative stable income.
- Many women of Wat Phnom are HIV positive.
- Despite offering them a better lifestyle, some women are not able to breakaway from the stronghold the sex trade has on them.
- It is an ongoing struggle to keep them motivated to stay in rehabilitation programs as they are often pressured by their families to give them money immediately.
What we do
The Punlue Jivet Center is working to give hope and a better future for the women of Wat Phnom. Several times a week, we will visit the women to share the gospel and build a relationship with them. Once a foundation of trust is built, the girls are connected to Christian organizations such as Daughters of Cambodia and Mother’s Heart where they receive counselling, medical care, prenatal care, vocational training and eventually employment opportunities. Accommodation near the organizations are also sought out to provide a safe place for them to live.
Every Thursday evening, Pina’s brother opens up his home near Wat Phnom for a night of fellowship where a meal is shared along with worship and prayer. By being treated with dignity and respect, these women are comfortable to open up their hearts to receive and experience God’s love and word.
Hope for the Future
Through our outreaches, almost every week one woman from Wat Phnom decides to turn her life around by entering a rehabilitation program. The Punlue Jivet Center continues to assist these women through the transformation process in the hopes that they will one day be fully restored emotionally, physically and spiritually.
Home is the center
Pina has created a space for community living in her own home. Women who have started the vocational training program at Daughters NGO are able to stay there and learn more about God on a daily basis or over the weekend
Inside Pina’s home is a beauty salon opened as a means of evangelizing to the women who work at garment factories in her community. With the help of hairdresser Sae Ha (pictured right) she is able to provide training and employment opportunities.
How you can help
Support Punlue Jivet’s ministry as we endeavour to give hope to women who are disadvantaged and victimized. We are looking for sponsors who will be able to partner with us through monthly giving of $35 USD or more.
The main way you can do that right now is through the Advent Conspiracy Campaign. Proceeds from your purchase of the Justice Doll or Just Soap go directly to the ministry in Cambodia. Please stop by now and place your order for a friend, loved one or yourself. Advent Conspiracy.
All info taken directly from the UofN Cambodia page.