Precious Women, a Cambodian-founded organization, has been fighting against the sex trafficking industry in Cambodia and the degradation of women since 2010. Solida Seng, the woman behind the mission, has the vision to see all exploited women in Cambodia’s entertainment industry live with dignity, equality, and hope, namely through empowering these women to pursue alternative careers and opportunities. This mission doesn’t come without challenges, however, as Karaoke bars, places where women are paid to perform sexual acts, are highly popular and profitable venues in Cambodia. These careers are especially irresistible to women who make little to no money in their current jobs and aim to support their families.
There is hope, however, and Precious Women is there to help with many different programs of action. Thanks to their Night Outreach Program, Precious Women sends skilled and sensitive individuals to the karaoke bars to meet women and build trust and connection. As these women grow to understand more about Precious Women, some may inquire about their services and programs and ultimately leave their jobs in the nighttime industry, pursuing a new course in their lives.
Last year, fifty-one women were connected to Precious Women through the Night Outreach Program, and eighty women stopped working at their nighttime job. Additionally, Precious Women has a great reach due to their Voice of Hope radio program, to which 189 women called in last year. Ultimately, 107 women graduated from the Empowerment Training program, which provides vital life skills information, such as women’s rights, asserting their rights, self-development, and more. Of these, twenty-four women enrolled in vocational training and received scholarships, and for many others, both personal and professional growth was made possible thanks to Precious Women's counselling services, financial support, health training program, job hunting assistance, business loans, and a number of skill development options such as workshops and seminars.
When visiting Precious Women ourselves, it was clear to see that the work they do is not only through finding these women new jobs but is also deeply internal and personal. Over a meal we shared, the women opened up about their lives and how Precious Women has impacted them. I loved seeing the way that the other students listened to them, with attentive eyes and respectful, encouraging gestures. It showed that the women were not only working to empower themselves but also those around them. This creates a very powerful space of love, healing, growth, and profound transformation.
I was really inspired to learn of the different vocation options for women to choose from, such as computer work, cooking, beauty, sewing, and even a university education route. It was exciting to see the big poster on the wall that detailed all of the students and their classes. Last year, the women also started the Blooming Goods Project, which values creativity as a means for emotional healing and organizes the creation of gorgeous crafts from recycled paper to sell at Christmas fairs. It was a beautiful time at the Precious Women's centre. Being there in person really gave me a feel for the organization and their values. It was an honour to sit with such a strong and kind group of women, all who stand by each other and themselves. From our time there, I could feel the transformation both in myself and others, thanks to this empowering and supportive family.
Our team will be debriefing our Cambodia trip this week, and we want to share our insights with you. Please come and be a part of tasting Cambodian culture and essence with us at Taste of Cambodia.
If you’re interested in attending a Justice Journey you can reach out here.
Click here to donate to Precious Women, either by donating to the Cambodia Fund or specifying that you wish to give to Precious Women with the other outlets.
Thanks and all the best!