Girls rescued from Brick Factory by Grey Man and Sao Sary Foundation
We were approached by Adrian Trout of the Big Heart Project last week when children at their shelter in Cambodia were removed by their father. The father had been unable to properly care for the kids and had signed an agreement to allow the child to be looked after by Adrian’s group and educated.
Unfortunately, the father recently remarried and his new wife had a history of abusing children. She had already tried to kill her own 5 year old son who had been taken in to protection. The father had brought some of the children home to be looked after by the wife!! and took the two older girls (11 and 14) to work in a brick factory where they were working 10 hours a day, 7 days a week. The younger children were becoming undernourished at home due to the lack of care by the stepmother and none of them were happy.
Adrian told me that he couldn’t get anyone in Cambodia to do anything about it. A complaint we hear far too often. So a couple of phone calls later and Tony, our Cambodian head of operations and Vichetr Uon from the Sao Sary foundation were on the case.
Adrian flew in to meet them and the result was that the older girls were found and removed to the Sao Sary Foundation under Vichetr’s care and a day later the rest of the children were removed from the house. The father has agreed to allow the children to receive an education and they are now safe and happy.
The two girls on the left in the photo below were the one rescued from the Brick Factory. Our Grey Man operative is next to them. A total of eight kids were rescued and put into protection. This is more of a soft rescue compared to our usual operations involving the police but we are happy with the outcome and so are the kids. Our thanks to Adrian from BigHeartProject for alerting us to the problem and Vichetr and Tony for getting the girls out.
Cambodian girls rescued from border brothel
Aranyaprathet is a fairly non-descript border crossing point from Thailand into the town of Poi Pet on the Cambodian side. It is the busiest crossing point into Cambodia and a key transit point for human traffickers.
On the evening of 13 September 2010 in Aranyaprathet, a joint operation between The Grey Man and the Royal Thai Police resulted in the rescue of four Cambodian girls on the Thai side of the border. The girls were 14-15 years old and had been trafficked into Thailand for prostitution.
A three person Grey Man team had set up a sting operation the previous day but it fell through when the go-between became frightened and did not bring the girls he had promised. It had been a frustrating month for the team, with a number of leads ending in dead ends.
The team then changed to another target. They had acquired video and audio surveillance of a brothel that had under-aged girls in it and called in a specialist Thai police unit. In this brothel the girls' rooms were padlocked and the windows covered in bars.
After a thorough briefing between the two groups, the Grey Man operatives then re-entered the brothel with Police nearby ready to conduct a raid.
The operatives continued their undercover roles, and once they ensured that the girls were still there, triggered a raid by the Police. Twenty Anti-trafficking Police and three Grey Man personnel were involved in the operation.
The mamasan (manager of the brothel) and a number of Thai males were arrested and the four girls are now in the hands of Thai government officials.
They will be moved to a government shelter in Bangkok where they will either be repatriated to Cambodia or sent to a Khmer vocational training centre. Grey Man is looking into how to best assist the repatriation of the girls.
We would like to thank the Thai Police unit involved for their assistance. Our team were very impressed with the level of their professionalism and our thanks also to the government of Thailand for setting up such a great unit.
It seems that this particular specialist police unit were also impressed with The Grey Man team and intend to run further operations with us.
Just a final worrying statistic, 46% of Cambodian kids trafficked into Thailand when interviewed said that the key figure who facilitated their trafficking was ... their mother!! We may never understand in the West what poverty can drive people to do, but we were born lucky and safe so don’t waste time in judging these people - just please support us to help more kids.
To this Grey Man team, consisting of former police and special forces people, thank you for a job well done as we know how difficult the past month has been.