Friday, January 29, 2010

30 Days of Justice: Chab Dai

3:37 AM
Prostitution. Human trafficking. Commercial sexual exploitation. Sex Tourism. Forced labor & migration. Sexual abuse of boys. Child labor. Statelessness. These issues and more are plaguing Cambodia. And when you just read the list, it seems overwhelming. How can these injustices be eliminated? How can we fix this? What can just one organization do? And the truth is, one organization isn't going to do it. It's going to take individuals reaching out to other individuals and organizations reaching out to other organizations to solve this crisis. And that is exactly why Chab Dai exists in Cambodia.

The vision behind Chab Dai (literally “joining hands” in Khmer) was founded in Cambodia in 2005. Chab Dai aims to bring an end to trafficking and sexual exploitation through coalition building, community prevention, advocacy and research. Chab Dai is a network for relief organizations to partner and join efforts in ending the cycles of violence and abuse of the Khmer people.

Cambodia is a sending, receiving and transit country for trafficking. Cambodians are most commonly trafficked for the purpose of commercial sex, begging, domestic work, fishing, construction and adoption. Trafficking in Cambodia is a problem intimately linked to the sex industry. Millions across the globe are regularly sold or manipulated into the commercial sex industry where they are used in various forms of commercial sexual exploitation (CSE) such as prostitution, pornography, nude dancing or other forms of sexual abuse. Conservative estimates indicate that the annual global profits from CSE come to more than US $33.9 billion. One study estimates that the lowest statistics for the number of prostituted persons in Cambodia is between 40,000 and 50,000, and the highest is 100,000. According to this study, 30-35% of those in brothels are sexually exploited minors. Child sex tourism has received increasing international media attention as a pressing social problem in Cambodia. Sex tourism in Asia has increased dramatically in recent years and Cambodia is considered one of its top destinations. Most of today’s organized sex tours originate from Australia, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, the US, Japan and South Korea. However, the internet has pushed the industry to a new level. It is estimated that US-based websites advertising sex tourism bring in over $150 million each per year. According to a UN study on child labor, nearly 1.5 million Cambodian children between the ages of 7 and 17 are engaging in child labor. This represents an estimated 40% of the country’s 7 to 17 year olds, and is considered to be a very conservative estimate.

Instead of seeing defeat in these numbers, Chab Dai sees opportunity. Opportunity to make a difference in this country and save lives.

About the author

Joy Muldoon is a full-time missionary and part-time blogger. Read about her travels, adventures, and missions here!