Traffickers given long jail sentences for selling girls into slavery

Two traffickers have been sentenced to a combined 35 years in prison for their role in the forced marriage and horrific abuse of a young girl who is now being cared for by Hope for Justice, and two of her cousins.

The girl, Mey*, had been living with her parents who worked as itinerant workers on farms across Cambodia. Mey’s parents were tricked by a broker who promised he could find their daughter a good job abroad so she could send money home.

The broker created fraudulent documents and sent Mey to China, where – at just 13 years old – she was forced to marry a man she did not know. She was violently beaten almost every day and forced to do back-breaking work.

Her mother filed a report with police, who worked with a non-governmental organisation in China to get her home. Mey was deeply traumatised and needed specialist help, so was transferred to the Hope for Justice Lighthouse in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

With our caring support and treatment for her mental and physical health, she has become much less depressed and is coping better with what has happened to her. Her communication skills are improving and she now has the chance to catch up on some of her missed education.

Within the last week, two people were sentenced in connection with Mey’s case and the linked case of two of her cousins: one received 15 years in prison and the other, sentenced in their absence, was given 20 years.

(*Name changed to protect identity. Photo shows a teddy bear next to a model courtroom used by Hope for Justice social workers in Cambodia to help girls we look after understand the process of giving evidence at trials.)