One girl narrowly escapes trafficking as the church takes action.
Cambodia is a country that has been wracked by wars instigated by both outside countries and internal unrest. As cities and economies attempt to recover, unscrupulous outside businesses often come in to exploit the people for cheap labor.
Many children in Southeast Asia have lost their parents to the conflicts that have repeatedly swept the region, diseases like HIV and factory accidents.
For many, orphanages are little better than being on the street. The reasons for this are complex, but many of them boil down to rampant sex- and labor-trafficking, poor infrastructure in many orphanages and opportunistic criminals who know that orphans are no longer connected to a community that will immediately note their absence.
World Challenge partners in Cambodia, however, are changing these alarming trends by finding safe sanctuaries for children.
The Dark House
When she was 8 years old, Samorn Lita became one of the lost children. Her mother had HIV, and as a second wife who had to defer to her husband's first wife, she was frequently forced to support her children without her husband's help. Unfortunately, she eventually contracted AIDS which finally took her life.
Lita and her brothers were sent to live with her father and his first wife, and the conditions were anything but good.
As the daughter of a second wife and with HIV herself, Lita was scorned by neighbors who refused to let their children play with her.
Home was no longer a refuge either. Her father was an alcoholic who would occasionally come home and beat his wives and children, and his first wife was hardly fond of Lita and her brothers who were only more mouths to feed.
On the worst days, Lita was driven out of the house and was so hungry that she stole bits of raw chicken to eat uncooked.
Rescuing a Daughter of God
Around this time, church members noticed Lita and her brothers and began visiting the family to share God’s Word with them.
Desperate, Lita confided in them about the abuse that was going on in the house. Worse yet, one of her older half-sisters had devised a plan to make her ‘useful’ to the family.
At 13 years old, Lita was on her way to becoming a pretty young woman, and her half-sister was industriously making plans to sell Lita to a buyer in China.
The church members took action and removed Lita from her father’s house. With some careful investigation, they found Lita’s aunt and uncle who happened to be childless and were glad to have their niece come live with them.
The church group scheduled regular check-in sessions to make sure that the family was doing well and that Lita was thriving.
Beyond that, a member visited Lita for counseling to help heal some of the trauma from her past.
Love Given for All Time
Determined to make sure that Lita will stay healthy despite her HIV, her aunt has begun taking her into the nearest city every month to see a doctor and get medicine.
Stronger now, Lita has begun attending school near her new home. She even has a bicycle to ride there now and feels a little more confident in class because her aunt and uncle have given her new clothes. The teacher reports that she is industrious and gentle.
“I thank Christ Lord,” Lita says softly. “He saved me from sin and my great problem, and He gives me love for all time.”
For her, God’s saving love worked through his church to quite literally rescue her from trafficking and slavery.
Lita isn’t alone with this kind of story. Fifty-five other children are also part of foster home system that World Challenge’s local partners have set up in Cambodia. They constantly depend on the Spirit’s wisdom as they find refuges for children.
Please pray for divine discernment and guidance as they work to expand their reach and protect those like Lita.