The Khmer Rouge regime ruled Cambodia between 1975 and 1979. During that time at least 1.7 million people – about a quarter of the Cambodian population – are believed to have died from forced labor, starvation and execution. Targeting the educated and accomplished, their act of genocide is one the country still struggles to recover from in many ways, including the resulting increase in poverty. These circumstances paved the way to make Cambodia and its people vulnerable to various forms of exploitation. As a result, Cambodia is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking. It is estimated that 1/3 of Cambodia’s sex workers are children under the age of 18, with children as young as five sold in a market that caters to both nationals as well as the international community.
The Ratanak Achievement Program Home opened as a response to an identified need for victims of trafficking and sex crimes. A partner agency recognized that while they were able to rescue a victim and provide a stage of aftercare, there was a critical need for a dedicated program to support the transition process back into society and community.
The Ratanak Achievement Program Home opened to provide aftercare for victims of sex crimes and specifically focus on the integration back into society and community. One of the first of its kind in Cambodia, the RAP Home serves as a bridge where previously there was no platform, providing support undergirded by Christian values and a place for victims to regain their independence while actively supported by the care and guidance of trained counselors and social workers. Providing a stable and safe environment, the program provides support, training, and accountability as residents work toward self-sufficiency.
While counseling and psychosocial therapy continue, there is an active transition to guiding the girls toward independence in their decision making and responsibility for their futures. Financial management, meal planning, managing a home, observing curfew boundaries, and time management are some of the practical skills that are gained. For individuals who once lost a voice and choice, and then began the healing process through structured programs, these life skills are challenging and independence even intimidating. Intentional guidance provided in this program is key to equipping them for success as well as serving to minimizing their future risk.
This half way home provides the step from which they can successfully launch into an independent life. A house advisor oversees the care of the girls as they complete their education, undertake vocational training programs and/or enter into a profession.
Through the RAP Home, victims of trafficking continue to receive transition aftercare in an environment that facilitates independence. The mission is to support these individuals to advance in their education, careers, and relationships and equip them to be able to make healthy life decisions.
This year, Wellspring International aims to provide $23,508 USD to the Ratanak Achievement Program (RAP) Home. These funds will go towards the salaries for Assistant Project Manager, Outreach Coordinator and Senior Counselor – critical positions to the development and fulfillment of the program.
Please contact us for more information regarding this significant project.
“A man goes out on the beach and sees that it is covered with starfish that have washed up in the tide. A little boy is walking along, picking them up and throwing them back into the water. “What are you doing, son?” the man asks. “You see how many starfish there are? You’ll never make a difference.” The boy paused thoughtfully, and picked up another starfish and threw it into the ocean. “It sure made a difference to that one,” he said.”
Nicholas D. Kristof, Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide
Ratanak Achievement Program (RAP)
October 2015 – Present