6.22.2011

Meet Srey


You just have to turn past the table of contents in Half the Sky by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn to meet Srey. She is the first girl that they talk about. I was hesitant about writing about Srey because she is on the first page, however, by the time I finished the introduction tears were already streaming down my face. How could the world that I live in do something this horrible to thousands of girls? Before I get to ahead of myself here is a glimpse of Srey's story.  (remember I am summarizing everything from the book Half the Sky!)


Srey Rath: a self confident Cambodian girl.

When Srey was 15 her family ran out of money and she took a job in Thailand as a dishwasher to make money for her family. Once she left her family she was sold to gangsters and Srey had her first customer who tired to forced her to have sex. Srey fought back. Because she refused to sleep with the customer her "boss" and other gangsters beat her and raped her to teach her a lesson. They told her that if she didn't accept the customers they would beat her to death.

Just pause with me for a second. This is not some fiction story or an exaggeration of what happened. This is real- this happened to Srey. Even though we do not know her personally, this happened to another human being. The reality is that today this is happening right now to thousands of girls. Do you feel uncomfortable? I hope you do.  Thats the whole reason I am leaving the country and heading to South Africa. I am so uncomfortable that I have to do something.

Lets go back to Srey's life at the brothel.  She worked 7 days a week, fifteen hours a day. She was kept naked to ensure that she wouldn't run away. She was barely given enough to eat because her clients didn't like "fat" girls. Srey tried to escape and found herself behind bars when she went to the authorities because she was an illegal immigrant. After being released she was taken to the border but sold once again into the life of a sex slave.


A young women with her life shattered. What would you do in that situation- I personally can't even think about it for too long- it makes me sick. But keep reading - this part is super encouraging!!!

Srey escaped again (what a determined young women) and got in touch with social worker who helps girls who have been trafficked.  American Assistance for Cambodia  used $400 in donated funds for Srey to become a street peddler.

$400 dollars? How many of us can make 400 dollars. To give Srey hope in her life I would give $400 in a second.

Fast Forward:  Srey's business thrived, she ended up getting married, had a son and began saving for his education! Key points from this heart breaking story:

"If girls get a chance, in the form of an education or a microloan, they can be more than baubles or slaves; many of them can run businesses.... Women aren't the problem but the solution. The plight of girls is no more a tragedy than an opportunity."

Srey is a role model and hero to me. This girl went through hell and when given the opportunity, given the chance to break her cycle of poverty- she thrived.

I can't wait to continue to be educated and become a global citizen with you. I know today's blog is heavy but I hope that you realize this is happening right now and deserves your attention - even just reading her story is a start, so thank you.

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