Poipet is located in northwest Cambodia, along the main border with Thailand. In the last decade, its population has grown at a very rapid rate and is now the fourth most populous city in Cambodia. Many poor Cambodians arrive in Poipet from all over the country, bringing with them their children and the hope to find a job, thanks to the flourishing cross-border trade. They look for a job in the many casinos around the Thai border area or surviving on gimmicks and small chores. Many of these people, including young people and children, who regularly cross the border to work in Thailand, are facing risks associated with unsafe migration.
Esteems show that every day 250 migrants, without documents, are brought back to Poipet and 10% of these people are children. Of these, about 10% is unaccompanied. The government funds are limited, so often recovered children fall back into the trafficking process because of this lack of services. As a result, trafficking has become a vicious circle that affects children living on the street and that for many of them would repeat indefinitely if Damnok Toek did not receive them in his Reception Centre to rehabilitate them and to reintegrate them into civil life.
Damnok Toek in almost 20 years of existence welcomed into his Centre about 500 Cambodian children, sold in Thailand and sent back, or abandoned and collected in the streets of Poipet, and tried to give them back a life, after traumas that deeply marked their personality.
Cambodia Visa Office, Poipet, Cambogia
Everyday dozens of boys and girls leave Cambodia to reach Thailand in the hope of a better life. What awaits them, however, is often even worse than the extreme poverty from which they try to escape. In many cases, in fact, they become trafficking victims. Some children are forced to sell flowers and tourist souvenirs on the street, others forced to beg and work in the fields and factories, others still sold for illegal adoptions and organ trafficking or exploited in the network of child prostitution.
Everyday dozens of these minors are repatriated by the Thai authorities to Poipet, Cambodia. Here they find various associations to welcome them: among these, there is Damnok Toek who, since 2001, has welcomed hundreds of these children trying to give them a life despite the trauma they have suffered.
In Poipet, Cambodia, since 2008 Mani Tese has been supporting the activities of the Reception Center managed by the Damnok Toek association.
Every year around 30 trafficking girls and boys are welcomed. Thanks to the project, they can return to school and live in a safe and secure place in which to grow up, attend courses in English, sports, IT and art therapy, receive medical care and psychological assistance. If conditions permit, minors are reintegrated into their families of origin and Damnok Toek educators continue to monitor the situation for several months to accompany this process.
If reintegration is not possible, minors continue to live in the Center and a few years before coming of age they begin to attend vocational training courses in order to be placed on the job market.
My name is Giulia Donnici, and it all started here. I was still a university student when, in 2006, I arrived in Mani Tese as an intern. It was my first experience in international cooperation and I immediately thought it was the most beautiful and interesting job in the world. Thanks to the internship, I got close and passionate to the topic of corporate social […]