Copyright 2019 Heart Mothers.
The AFESIP Phnom Penh center houses girls aged 3-18 who have been taken in from a variety of precarious situations involving trafficking or exploitation. Many of the girls at the AFESIP center have been removed from brothels; however, others stay at the center to protect them from vengeful rapists, forced marriages, or because they are at a high risk of being trafficked by someone close to them.
Recovery and Education
The girls are housed in a friendly, loving environment with their peers and caring staff. They receive counselling, medical care, nutritional food, and an education up to grade 12. Our organization also provides a mentorship-like program in which all the girls are paired with a loving mother-figure to encourage them throughout their journey of rehabilitation and reintegration. This is especially important for those who have previously been betrayed by their own families (i.e. those who have been sold or endured sexual abuse perpetrated by someone in their family).
While the girls do attend a local school for all their main subjects, AFESIP also hires teachers for the center's on-site classroom, where the girls learn additional subjects such as English and computer skills. These additional skills are often key to landing a good paying job once the girls leave the center, and will also be very helpful if the girls decide to attend university. At the center, the girls can also learn life skills, such as sewing, and job skills. These skills can also be translated into small independent business ventures.
Out of respect for the girls' privacy and safety, and abiding by AFESIP policy, we cannot publish photos that show their faces, but they are beautiful inside and out!
When girls are removed from a trafficking situation away from their homes, such as a brothel, AFESIP first always searches for the girl's family. If the home situation is determined to be safe, the girls are reunited with their families and are able to live at home. In these cases, AFESIP closely monitors the girls and their families to ensure that they are receiving adequate care, with high importance placed on the girls' well-being and education. Girls are returned to the center if requirements regarding personal safety and care are not being met (e.g. in cases where the family abuses or neglects their daughter because of what she has experienced).
Once the older girls reach the age of 18, they will have enough schooling and skills training to enter a variety of professions upon leaving the center. AFESIP is often able to fund new businesses, like seamstress or hairdressing businesses, for those who want to enter those fields. The organization is also often able to provide scholarships for university. Many young women leaving the center choose this route, becoming lawyers, physicians, and psychologists. Some have even returned to work with their "younger sisters" at the center.