Cambodia is also considered a source, transit, and destination country for human trafficking. One survey concluded that 35% of Cambodia’s 15,000 prostitutes are children under the age of 16, with some as young as 5 years old that are being sold (UNICEF). Many variables, such as: poverty, a rebuilding economy, and the after-effects for the Khmer Rouge make it a target for traffickers and industries that need cheap labor, sex workers, or personal gain. Cambodians are often trafficked into nations such as Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, and China. Our team in Cambodia works with a network of government officials, social workers, and NGOs to work hand-in-hand with our cross border partners, child placement/aftercare, and locally in Poipet and Phnom Penh to assist with children being exploited, trafficked, or sold locally for sex or labor. Most of these children are living in extreme poverty and working on the streets from early in the morning until late in the evening collecting recyclables, scavenging, or begging to collect money for themselves or their families. If they can’t make their daily quota, they are often beat and abused, so they will often go to extremes to provide for their family, including selling themselves for sex services or taking pornographic pictures.
Everlasting Love Women's Training Program & Social Business
Everlasting Love (EL) is a social enterprise and training program for women coming out of prostitution and trafficking backgrounds. The EL program teaches women immediate job skills, through sewing training, and employs them in our business. Women make high-end products (bags, shirts, scarves, and more), utilizing the nations natural resources and emphasizing their worth and value. In addition, their children are given a safe place to learn and receive care while mom is working. The products are sold internationally, through events, wholesalers, and online to build capacity and help more women and children in need.
Education Empowerment Program
The Education Empowerment Program is a child sponsorship program that provides funding for private school education and all school supplies, uniforms, shoes, school fees, transport, haircuts/hygiene, and birth certificates necessary to attend school. Education in Cambodia is not free and has financial requirements to attend. Extreme Love Ministries (ELM) also has a corresponding lunch sponsorship program, which provides one nutritious meal per day to those enrolled in the education program. For some, this is the only meal they will eat that day. Education is empowerment and a way we can break the cycles of poverty that lead to exploitation.
This house was formed in Phnom Penh to help aid in aftercare efforts for Cambodian children that have been severely traumatized, trafficked, or have undergone extreme abuse. Resident children are also disabled in some manner (physically or mentally) and need more attentive care. ELM believes these children can be physically, emotionally, and spiritually restored. Our efforts in counseling, education, medical, and daily care, seek to further their ongoing restoration and healing.
Anti-trafficking efforts to women and children are one of ELM’s main purposes in outreach, rescue, and aftercare efforts. The ELM team works in a variety of ways to specifically coordinate repatriations and rescues for trafficked and exploited Cambodian children. This requires a network of government officials, police, investigators, social workers, and organizations to facilitate successful results. ELM’s repatriation efforts seek to ensure that vulnerable children will not be placed back in the care of the person(s) who sold them and that they will receive safe, ongoing care and restoration for physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. ELM is located within two major cities, Poipet and Phnom Penh, to help make these rescue efforts possible.
Kids Justice House of Prayer (KJHP)
KJHP operates in an at-risk community, in Phnom Penh, and provides teaching and discipleship for children living within the slum. KJHP mentors a core group of kids in prayer and teaches them how to hear God’s voice, so they can impact their families and communities through evangelism, intercession, and relationship with Jesus. In addition, one day per week, the house is opened to the public, where a larger number of kids, moms, and their family members join for teaching and practical applications.
The ELM team is currently ministering in 7 Phnom Penh slums and 3 street dwelling communities. ELM currently manages 5 Lighthouses, which are small slum houses the team rents to conduct ministry activities, build relationships, and provide local residency in vulnerable communities. Feeding outreaches, hygiene distributions, women’s and men’s groups, kids club, and English lessons are just some of the activities that occur in Lighthouses. The ELM team also hears about instances of human trafficking and exploitation, coordinating with the casework team as needs arise, to facilitate safe communities and assist in rescue, education, and aftercare.
Several of Cambodia’s injustices (including human trafficking) are rooted in issues of poverty. ELM seeks to provide jobs, training, and micro-business opportunities to help build the economy and target trafficking issues from a preventative level. ELM is currently overseeing a laundry business and also looks after several small, home-based businesses that equip poor and vulnerable individuals, teaching them business and leadership skills and empowering them to work with dignity to provide for their families.