working for truth in Cambodia

I got an e-mail last week from my friend Caleb, who was a leader for my India team. Caleb and another friend Wilson are both part of a non-profit they formed and are in Asia learning about how they can help end human trafficking, specifically child prostitution. Caleb told a touching story in his e-mail about their recent trip to Cambodia where they saw many brothels full of young, precious children who are being exploited in awful ways. He told us that Dateline NBC was airing a special on child prostitution in Cambodia that was airing last friday night. I DVRed the show and watched it Saturday morning, and it was so heartbreaking.

Children sold into slavery because their parents cannot afford to feed them.

Pimps and Madames bragging about how young the girls were.

Awful, hazardous conditions in which the girls live.

Tourists traveling to Cambodia to do more than just look at the architecture.

All of it made me so sad but the part that really wrenched me was watching the girls cry and scream in fear as they were freed as a part of a large sting operation. Dateline partnered with the International Justice Mission and Cambodian officials to set up the sting operation. There is a lot of corruption within the government and police and somehow the plan was disrupted. I watched as these girls cried and screamed in terror as the IJM official took them into a back room to protect them from the shooting and violence of the pimp. As the girls were placed into a vehicle that took them to a safehouse one girl had her hand against the back window and was bawling.

I think that is the saddest thing ever – when children have been so oppressed they don’t even know what freedom looks like. I cannot even imagine going through what they did. The show really opened my eyes to the pain and suffering of children around the world and caused me to ask my Abba Daddy to please hold those girls, to give them the love that is greater than all hurt.

The special was called Children for Sale. I encourage you to check out the information and International Justice Mission:

“Doing what Jesus does, telling the truth and loving needy people, is inherently unsafe in a fallen world of lies and selfishness” -excerpt from a message given by Gary Haugen, president of the IJM, entitled “DISCERNING GOD’S CALL – When the Will of God is Scary”



Filed under missions, Scripture, social justice

5 responses to “working for truth in Cambodia

  1. Thanks for posting about this!

  2. Lyn

    hi you might be interested in checking out Gary Haugen’s latest book as well, Just Courage ( Thanks for posting this up, the dateline special was certainly moving for me as well, Lyn from IJM HQ

  3. Hey Julie – Thanks for posting this and making people aware! I’m going to check out the Dateline link, too. Plus, I really like that quote!

  4. richard

    visiting Cambodia and Thailand I learned that prostitution under 18 is illegal. Selling children is illegal. I never saw little children in bars.

    How old were these kids???

  5. julesmagules

    Yes it is illegal. According to the Dateline special some girls were as young as 7 or 8. They were not at the bars but in brothels hidden away.

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