30 December 2009

An Unsettling Encounter

Smiling, laughing, bubbly and excited at the approach of two foreigners- although they turned all serious for a photograph-were these two little ones.

Across the street their family (I presumed) were labouring on a building site.
"You can have," one man called, gesturing at the tiny, laughing duo.
"You take," he said.

He too was smiling and I understood that he was joking; that he wouldn't give up his kids for the world.

Yet the interaction was unsettling. For there are many Cambodian children, just like these two, sold into servitude by their poor parents.

According to the United Nations, "50 percent of the world's child trafficking takes place in Southeast Asia and Cambodia is on the US State Department's watch list of countries with major human trafficking problems. The children are often sold to Thailand and Malaysia where they become slaves facing a life of forced labor or, even worse, sex slaves forced to sell their bodies for the profit of their owners. Others are sold in Thailand and Vietnam as street beggars."

Child-peddlers can be quite brazen and these are the type of kids that would be targeted for tafficking; they are young, their family are poor, probably itinerant and ill-educated.

I'm certain that this is not the fate awaiting these two children. Well, almost certain. And that's not good enough.

No comments:

Post a Comment