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Cambodia: From Victim to Survivor

May 9th, 2008

Last year, as a means of processing, I wrote a personalized multimedia essay focusing on my week in Phnom Penh. There I worked, more or less by sheer perseverance and chance, with the non governmental organization AFESIP which provides A-Z services for female victims of sex trafficking.

This year, during the two months I stayed in Cambodia, I began tracing a map of the story I wanted to tell on the tile wall of my guest house. Thinking in terms of psychological trauma, I decided to portray Cambodia–the country–as a victim struggling to become a survivor. With a story to represent the figurative Cambodia, I began piecing together the literal. I feel I am halfway there and hope to return when I have the funds (I’m applying for grants, looking for assignments, or other funding sources). I want to take a moment, again, to thank all the private donors who made this most recent trip possible.

Below is an eight minute multimedia essay. It is an overview on the themes of human trafficking, with Cambodia as an example. It is more an introductory tool for advocacy than a complete story, and is my first stab at incorporating HD Video. This time I worked closely with James Pond and Transitions Cambodia. He is a man who wears his heart on his sleeve, who is a wealth of information, and who trusted me enough to provided incredible and unfettered access so I could learn and understand just how complex sex trafficking is in Cambodia.

Not everyone can move to Cambodia (or another developing country) like the Ponds (see story here) who founded Transitions Cambodia. But there are two things to note: human trafficking happens here in the United States and, without a support base in the States, work by small NGO’s cannot be accomplished abroad. By talking about this issue you are doing something, but please also consider:

• Telling your friends by linking to this blog:
• Using a direct link to this media piece in your blog or facebook: http://timmatsui.com/media/20080328_PNH_web/20080328_PNH_web.mov
• Or go one step further and consider helping one of the Cambodian NGO’s I’ve listed here.

NOTE: on this video, I’ve been told people have trouble viewing it. i suggest after “clicking to play” hit the “pause” button (lower left) and let it load completely before hitting play again. I am looking into alternate means of posting. thanks!


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