Last year in
New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof met the girls during a research trip to
This year, Kristof went back to find out what had happened to the girls. One of them, Srey Neth, is doing well. Though she had faced many struggles trying to care for her family and establish a career, the aid group had helped her get into a beauty school. Now she?s ready to start to set up her own beauty shop. Kristof writes, ?She is a happy, giggly, self-confident reminder that we should never give up on the slaves of the twenty-first century. I couldn?t be more proud of her.?
But the story of Srey Mom, the other girl, was sadly different. Kristof found her back at the brothel. The girl, he reports, was ?devastated? to see him. She told him, ?I didn?t want to return, but I did.? Kristof was devastated as well.
?The central problem, as best I can piece together the situation,? he writes, ?is that she was addicted to methamphetamines, and that craving destroyed her will power, sending her fleeing back to the brothel so that she could get her drugs.? He and Srey Mom both fear she?ll die of AIDS, like so many other young Cambodian prostitutes.
?Maybe that?s what I find saddest about Srey Mom,? Kristof concludes. ?She is a wonderful, good-hearted girl who gives money to beggars, who offers Buddhist prayers for redemption?but who is already so broken that she seems unable to escape a world that she hates and knows is killing her.?
Though Nicholas Kristof and I disagree on many things, we see eye to eye on human trafficking and child prostitution?something we have led the campaign here in Washington, D.C, to stop. Kristof cares passionately about the oppressed, and he?s done an admirable job of exposing these evil practices. And his attempts to help Srey Neth and Srey Mom demonstrate that he has the courage of his convictions.
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