In a voice message, a 14-year-old girl said she was pregnant after four months of abuse by her Chinese “husband,” and was now stuck at a Chinese police station for three weeks hoping Cambodian authorities would bring her home.
Cambodia’s Foreign Affairs Ministry this week confirmed it was aware of the case, and said it was working to prepare documents for her homecoming.
In voice messages last month and on Wednesday, the girl — whose identity is being withheld to protect the sex-trafficking victim — said she was cheated by a broker, promised a job in China but made to live with a man instead after she arrived.
She had been in China for four months, and was beaten by her “husband” almost every day, she said. Three weeks ago she fled on foot to a police station seeking help, traveling about 10 km of streets she didn’t know, she said.
“I am still at the police station, because no one has contacted me to take me to Cambodia. It is difficult to eat. I am pregnant. I want to get to Cambodia soon,” she said on Wednesday.
Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesperson Koy Kuong said Cambodian Embassy officials in China were aware of the case and had already interviewed the 14-year-old victim.
The embassy was preparing a letter to bring her back to Cambodia soon, Kuong said.
Dy Thehoya, a program officer at labor rights group Central, urged embassies and consulates to take swift action to help trafficking victims.
“When there is a problem, and the guardians representing the nation, representing the whole country, do not take effective action, it diminishes our nation’s standing,” Thehoya said.
Based on interviews with previous victims, collusion with some local officials was enabling the trafficking of underage victims out of the country, he added.
Chou Bun Eng, permanent vice chair of the National Committee for Counter Trafficking, could not be reached for comment.
A previous victim of trafficking to China also made a call for help online last month, saying she had been in China for two and a half years and was posting from the phone of the man she was still being forced to live with.
She had been promised a job in China, and had made a long journey to the country through Vietnam, but had been made to “take husbands” when she got there, she said.