Here is a question: Given other options, would any young girl willingly allow herself to be degraded, humiliated and sexually abused by countless men in order to support her impoverished family? Of course she wouldn’t. It’s obvious that if the overwhelming majority of girls can choose a less harmful way to support their families, that is what they will choose to do.
Distressed by the fact that the Cambodian sex industry was becoming the default industry for young girls, Daughters have been working hard since 2007 to give girls the ‘choice’ they were never offered before; remain in a life of sexual slavery or experience a new life of freedom and dignity. Daughters operates six small businesses that provide fair trade employment with good working conditions, equitable wages, free medical and counseling services, and day care. Their businesses include a workshop, retail outlet, cafés, a guesthouse and day spa in Phnom Penh.
So, what would you choose? In a situation like that, it’s a no brainer; just ask any of the 98% of girls that choose to exit sexual slavery through Daughters of Cambodia. These young women are choosing to be empowered to work in a safe, fair and dignified profession to support themselves and their families.
Alison, one of The Shop for Change team members had the chance to visit the Daughters of Cambodia sewing centre and retail outlet in Phnom Penh in 2012. She was truly impressed to see so many young women working together towards growing a sustainable future for Cambodian women. It was clear to Alison that theirs was a future of dignity and health rather than of poverty and exploitation.