AFESIP Cambodia 

Acting for Women in Distressing Situations 

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Somaly with mother and newborn

Somaly with mother and newborn

In June, Somaly Mam and her staff paid a visit to an entertainment worker in Phnom Penh who had recently given birth to a baby girl. The new mother, along with the other twenty or so women that joined her are well acquainted with Somaly and AFESIP’s social workers. The social workers with AFESIP’s outreach teamregularly visit this particular group of entertainment workers to distribute condoms and other hygiene and sanitary items, as well as raise awareness on HIV/AIDS, STDs, drug abuse, personal hygiene, human rights and self protection.

 The new mother had a particularly harrowing tale. Just two days following her delivery, she left the maternity ward alone. She explained that her husband, a known drunkard who squandered his garbage collecting salary on alcohol, was nowhere to be found for the birth of his daughter. As a result, the woman plans to return to her clients in order to provide for her children. Somaly felt compelled to assist the new mother with a personal donation and after chatting with the women, distributed dozens of boxes of food. Somaly’s gesture did not go unappreciated—the immense gratitude of the women was evident with their expressions of thanks and warm, smiling faces.



When Miss Seng Khim* was sold to a brothel in Phnom Penh, she could never forget the family she was forced to leave behind in Kandal province. Seng, a former AFESIP resident, is now a proud and self-assured young woman with Voices for Change. Sensing that her younger sister Khara* was also vulnerable to the same fate, Seng asked that Khara be brought to Somaly House Center in Kampong Cham Province.

The mother’s home AFESIP officer coordinating with the local authorities

Young girls from impoverished backgrounds are the most in danger of being exploited, as poor families tend to incur debts that compel them to sell their daughters to brothel owners and human traffickers. AFESIP works to help women and girls who are victims of this and other forms of exploitation rehabilitate and rebuild their lives. Similarly, Voices for Change is an initiative that gives former AFESIP residents like Seng an opportunity to educate others about their experiences.

A workshop on Policy and Minimum Standards for the Protection of Victims of Human Trafficking was held at AFESIP’s Phnom Penh Main Office Meeting Hall from June 5-8, 2012. It was facilitated by Mr. Mam Khon, Tom Dy Center Manager, and Mr. Som Sophatra, Admin, HR and Communication Coordinator. The two facilitators were trained by staff from ECPAT Cambodia, a network of NGOs working to prevent the sexual exploitation of children. This initial training took place from April 2-6, 2012.

Staff and managers from AFESIP departments, programs, and centers participated in the workshop. Voices for Change team members from the Somaly Mam Foundation SEA also partook in the exercise

The Cambodian people celebrated Khmer New Year from 13 to 15 April 2012. Many AFESIP residents returned home to celebrate this holiday with their families and relatives, however for those who stayed at our centres over the break, we took the residents out to participate in special activities for the Khmer New Year celebration.

Somaly Mam, Founder and President of AFESIP Cambodia, staff and members of Voices for Change spent their 3-day holiday at Kompong Cham Centerto celebrate with the children. Somaly said : “ This year again I devote my holidays and life with my children at Kompong Cham center ”. “ I love them the most, because they are little and innocent ones ”, she added.

The morning of the first day, the center prepared food and dessert for the monks at the pagodas. The children and girls wearing traditional costumes and scarves were brought out to the pagodas.


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