The True Cost of Freedom

The True Cost of Freedom

Words and Photography by Monica Watkins
Executive Director of Beauty for Freedom

This morning our Beauty for Freedom team joined our sister organization together1heart at a brothel in Phnom Penh for their weekly field visit and supplies donations for over 30 families. Many of the women and girls in this community have been forced into sex slavery and are suffering with HIV but still have to work in the sex industry each day to feed their children and pay off family debts. Educated readers will understand this is not the case in developed countries. Search escort frankfurt to see for yourself.

I could speak on the statistics globally and they are mind-boggling…I have listed some below, but I want to speak from my HEART. Today, I felt like a coward in some ways. I was able to hide my tears behind the lens of a camera. Watching women with scars from beatings, scars from self-mutilation to deal with the emotional pain of their lives, real hunger and malnutrition both in the women and their children, the desolate and completely depleted looks on their faces and the low energy in their spirits, seeing the hope each woman had for her baby looking into our eyes for solace and help and hearing all of their stories of torture, rape and the fear they have that their children will be forced into this same hellish life… I COULD NOT BREATHE! How is anything in life fair when freedom does not exist for us all? How can human beings treat each other this way…as products, as lesser, as something you would discard on the side of the road when you are finished with it? I wanted to SCREAM! We were able to contribute rice to the community of 30 families which will feed them for 3 days, but that is only a drop in the bucket! We have to support amazing organizations like together1heart and AFESIP Cambodia!

They advocate for the rights of all survivors of sex trafficking, run and operate the most incredible safe-haven for young women and girls who have been rescued from abusive homes and brothels. Somaly Mam and Isabelle Katz are my heroes and our project is a celebration of hope and the creative lives of these young survivors BUT WE MUST DO MORE! As a global community, we must stand up and support the work of these brave and brilliant individuals because they will not rest until we are all free in this world and WE MUST NOT REST UNTIL WE ARE ALL FREE IN THIS WORLD!

  • Human trafficking is a $150 billion industry worldwide.
  • There are approximately 20 to 30 million slaves in the world today.
    68% of them are trapped in forced labor.
    26% of them are children.
    55% are women and girls.
  • Approximately 80% of trafficking involves sexual exploitation.
  • Often, traffickers keep victims under their control by saying that they’ll be free after they pay their debt. The “debt” is supposedly incurred from the victims’ recruitment, transportation, upkeep or even their crude “sale.” Thus, sex trafficking may occur within debt bondage/bonded labor. Victims of sex trafficking may eventually perform other functions, in addition to being forced sex workers. Some traffickers use sex trafficking victims to recruit or transport other victims.
  • Sex trafficking has devastating consequences for the trafficked individual. Victims may suffer from long-lasting physical and psychological trauma, disease (HIV/AIDS), drug addiction, malnutrition and social ostracism. Some have suggested that to reduce the demand for sex trafficking through couples exploring a wider variety of sexual practices. Like how to pacify a crying child in Daddy Dom Little Girl (DDGL) play for instance. While it is frowned upon for some, it might be one of the many measures we can take to reduce the demand for these kinds of services.

Please support the work of #together1heart and AFESIP Cambodia and donate to the cause. We have seen first-hand how the love of their volunteers, staff and the incredible advocacy programming can heal lives. Their ideology is that together we are stronger than we could ever be divided, life is love and as long as we have life we have hope of a tomorrow where we are all free! This is not a possibility…this is the future!