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The White Lotus Project is a ministry to women and girls victimized by the sex trade in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. By e-mail, Wendy Murray Zoba interviewed Srey Dara (not her real name), one of the girls rescued by the ministry.

How did you become entrapped?

When I was 17 years old, I was married. After three months my husband wanted to move to do business in a distant province. I did not agree. But because he entreated me, I decided to go with him. My older sister tried to stop me. I told her I trusted my husband, that he treated me kindly, so I should go with him. When we arrived at the new place I felt lonely. My husband said we should stay at a guesthouse for a few days. That night he went to meet friends and left me by myself. He did not come back. Three days went by, then one week. I didn't have money to pay for the guesthouse. I felt nervous and then hopeless. At that time, a woman came and told me that my husband would not be back. She said he had received a lot of money from her and that I should stay and work for them. It was then that I realized I was trapped and that the guesthouse was really a brothel.

What did they make you do?

They kept me in a room and said if I wanted to leave, I should first pay them back. I asked them to give me time to go to my hometown to get money from my family, but they said that wasn't possible. I had no money, only my clothes. That night they told me to sleep with a man. I was very afraid and said I could not do that. They said the man would pay a lot of money because he was rich. If I wouldn't sleep with him, they would beat me and hurt my body by other means—electrical shock, tying me up, and putting me in a dark and dirty place. I cried, "O real God, please help!" Out of fear and against ...

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November 2003

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