Amaya’s Story

WARNING: this story is graphic and may be inappropriate for children.



Amaya courageously shares her experience of sex trafficking.

Amaya was 14 when she was tricked into working at a Cambodian brothel. She was forced to serve 10 men a day, endured beatings and gang rapes and became addicted to drugs. She was treated, she said, as if she wasn’t human. She was a slave.

“Since I was a little girl I dreamed of having a good job and earning money to help my mom.

My real father passed away and my mom remarried. She needed to work day and night to earn money to provide for us. My family life went downhill. Sometimes we didn’t have food to eat. I felt so disappointed and had lots of questions. Why did my life turn worse and worse just like falling into a pit? Why was my family situation so terrible? We did not have any money even though we worked so hard.

There were two dreams – I wanted to have a hair salon and become a pop singer.

One day a relative of mine was drunk and raped me. I felt angry and afraid. During that time I kept the rape a secret. I was full of shame and did not know how to explain it to anyone. I could not tell my mum what had happened – I was so ashamed I went to live with a friend.

She brought me to work in a place without telling me what kind of job it was. I was brought to a brothel.

I felt depressed and thought, why do only bad things not good things happen in my life? One day a group of clients raped me in a graveyard. They left me alone there and I felt like an animal. I returned to work to serve customers as I was told. Later, I always cried in front of my customers.

I felt that my life was like a doormat for others to step on and manipulate me.

Later on there was a group of police who came to rescue me and many other exploited girls. They spoke to us without respect at all. Instead they called us bitches – they spoke really painful words to us.”

After Amaya was rescued by the police she was referred to Hope for Justice and began her rehabilitation program.

She worked through her trauma and began healing from the pain of her past. She began to discover a new dream for her future.

“When I was brought to Hope for Justice on the first day I felt so excited and happy.

The atmosphere was like a family which made me feel warm. I wanted others to know that this is the best place that can wake you up from the bad dream and help you return to a good life. I want girls who come here in future to learn from my example”.

Amaya graduated from the Hope for Justice program, became a licensed yoga instructor and now works with ‘at-risk’ children. She is now happily married, and she has a young baby.

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Magdalene’s Story

Magdalene and each of her children were kept under lock and key. She was delivered every day to a factory where she worked gruelling 12 hour shifts. Every penny of her wages was paid into her trafficker’s bank account. Despite going without food herself, she still couldn’t feed her children with the meagre amount she was given.