In Cambodia, Destiny Rescue agents canvass red-light districts to search beer gardens and karaoke bars for underage girls employed as hostesses. These young women, often forced into the work just to survive, can be “rented” by the guests for “company” during their stay. While some of the bars stop there, many are fronts for brothels. Girls are brought out and displayed for customers to choose from, or are listed on the menu of offerings with different price tiers for varying activities. 

Sophea, a 17-year-old high school student and her little sister, Maly, were among these girls displayed as products for purchase. The girls worked long hours at night in a local karaoke bar to support their family and pay for school. 

young girls in bar at night
Photo from red-light district in Cambodia; representational of most regional red-light districts

When our agents first contacted Sophea, she was reluctant to leave the bar. It was a life she understood, and the money she made there was vital in supporting her family. 

For weeks, our agents repeatedly returned, trying to convince Sophea and her sister to leave the bar and join our community care program. Time and again, Sophea and Maly refused the offer, unwilling to let go of a stable source of income. Our operatives began to wonder if we’d ever get through to the sisters.

She wanted out

Then one day, our staff received a phone call from Sophea. She was starting to see how her job was having a negative impact on her life. The late nights spent working at the bar, followed by early mornings attending school, had left her habitually exhausted. One failed exam after another made her question her former justification that the bar helped pay for school. That’s when she called Destiny Rescue–she wanted out.

Our agents acted immediately, pulling Sophea out of the bar and starting her rehabilitation. The results were almost instant: her grades bounced back as she healed and her quality of life improved. But that wasn’t enough for Sophea–her little sister still worked at the bar.

A traditional Cambodian market

Sophea tried, again and again, to get Maly to leave the bar, but she was too entrenched to make the jump. Three months later, impressed with her elder daughter’s new life, their mother joined Sophea in pleading for Maly to leave the work. Finally, Maly made the leap and joined her sister in freedom.

A shining example

As the sisters’ lives improved, they became ambassadors for rescue, reaching out to other girls they’d known in karaoke bars and beer gardens. Soon, two more of their friends were rescued and enrolled in our community care program. For young ladies who cannot imagine a way out, just seeing a couple of their peers who have escaped a life of abuse can be a dramatic turning point. Once they realize that others have transitioned out of exploitation, hope blooms in their hearts, and they’re emboldened to take the first step toward freedom.

Our caseworkers and social workers offer services such as education, trauma counseling and vocational training for rescued girls in Cambodia

These two brave sisters made a unique transition. They began as victims, just as the thousands of other girls forced into sex work in the red-light districts of Southeast Asian cities and around the world. But these brave souls didn’t stop at accepting the call to freedom–they became Freedom Fighters themselves, boldly calling other girls out of the darkness of exploitation and ushering them into the light of freedom.

Your support allows Freedom Fighters like Sophea and Maly to be rescued–and be empowered and equipped to rescue others.

Get them out

Your gift can provide a way out of sexual exploitation for other children

Join an army of freedom fighters standing up against this injustice.

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Thank you fighting for freedom. You’re now a part of a worldwide team that is helping to rescue and restore the sexually exploited. You’ll receive regular updates on the impact that your generosity is enabling and the lives changed because of you.

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Over the last three years, 80.4% of every dollar we spent was used for programs that benefit the children we defend.

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80.4% Program Funs / 11.2% Management / 8.4% Fundraising

We are grateful for your generosity and promise to use your donation in the most effective way possible. All donations designated for specific funds will be applied to those projects and to administering the gifts. At least 80 percent of your designated gift will go to programs that defend kids. Gifts that cannot be used for a particular project, due to over or under-funding, will be directed to Destiny Rescue’s most urgent needs. Contributions are solicited with the understanding that Destiny Rescue has control over the use of all donated funds.