Campus & Community / Magazine Feature

Girls freed from sex trafficking speak to Korbel students

More than 130 people crowded into the Cyber Café in DU’s Cherrington Hall to hear two young women share their stories of being rescued from the sex trade in Cambodia.

Srey Neth was 14 years old when her mother sold her to a neighbor. She said she thought she was working to help earn money for her family, but later a man sold her virginity for $300. She was joined in the talk by fellow Cambodian, Chan Sineth.

Today, Neth is a free woman, supporting herself as a yoga instructor.

“I am so happy and proud of myself,” Neth said. “I feel so independent.”

Neth was rescued by police during a sting. She went to a safe location and then ended up at Transitions Global’s Transitional Living Center in Phnom Penh.

James Pond, founder of Transitions Global, says there are between 40–60,000 girls younger than 18 who are involved in forms of prostitution in Cambodia. He says the two girls are speaking out because they want to be a voice to other girls in the same circumstances.

Alex Monroe, associate director for DU’s Human Trafficking Clinic, says he invited the group to visit DU because many Americans are not aware of the gravity of the situation.

“Human trafficking is a problem all around the world, even in the U.S. and even here in Denver,” Monroe said.

Monroe also is pursuing his graduate degree in International Human Rights. He says he chose the Korbel School of International Studies because it’s the only school that offers such in-depth study on human trafficking and human rights.

Pond acknowledges that there is plenty of work ahead, but his dream is to “restore dreams for girls.” Pond and his wife sold their home and moved to Cambodia in 2005 to establish a shelter. Since then, they’ve provided shelter, education and a future for 63 girls.

“Now society doesn’t discriminate against me like before,” Neth says. “Now I feel hope for my future.”


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