Empowering survivors of trafficking is an important part of AIM’s approach to ending exploitation. This empowerment comes in many forms, such as continual access to social workers, vocational training, and employment opportunities. Since 2012, AIM has directly provided employment opportunities at our Employment Centers (AEC) – first in Svay Pak, outside Phnom Penh, and then in Siem Reap, in northern Cambodia. Through safe and sustainable employment, survivors of trafficking are set up for success as they are reintegrated back into society.
At the AIM Employment Centers, survivors and those vulnerable to trafficking have the opportunity to work in a safe and empowering environment. The products these women make are high quality, unique, and directly support their freedom. From tees and flannels to kimonos and bags, each product made and sold by AIM is directly supporting the freedom of these women!
AIM’s Employment Center in Siem Reap was unique. Small and mighty, this center specialized in creating kimonos, hair accessories, and bags. In recent years, it became clear that for this Employment Center to continue, there was a need to grow. As a ministry first, the point of AIM Employment Centers was not necessarily profit, but to provide employment for those who needed it, giving a clear next step for survivors who were coming out of our restoration programs and looking to be reintegrated into society. Expansion had been attempted, but we ran into several hurdles that hindered the growth of the program. The impossibility of expansion increased during the COVID-19 pandemic, when product was difficult to source and sell. Additionally, it was apparent that the finances and resources being put into this operation could be used in more efficient, effective ways elsewhere. Because of this, the decision was made to close the Employment Center in Siem Reap in November of 2021. At the time of closure, fourteen survivors and at-risk women were employed at this center. They have ALL been offered positions at our Employment Center in Svay Pak, Cambodia.
We are still committed to providing opportunities for survivors and those at risk of trafficking. Because of this, our team is in the final stages of completing renovations and expanding our Employment Center in Svay Pak. Currently employing about 80 women, this center will expand to employ 34 more women in 2022 with capacity for further growth in the coming years! For those who decide to move to Svay Pak, AIM will provide assistance (financial and otherwise) for relocating. For those who are not able to move, AIM will continue to assist them in securing a safe and sustainable career. Additionally, AIM will provide every employee with full salaries for the next six months.
Already, one employee has decided to start her own business making clothes. Because of her training at AEC, and with support and equipment from AIM, her business is proving to be successful! It is truly incredible to see these women walk boldly in their lives of freedom – being empowered and empowering others.
We are incredibly grateful for the opportunity to work with communities and survivors in Siem Reap. It is only with the support of people like you that these programs are able to flourish and lives are changed. AIM’s operations in Siem Reap will still include a transitional home, social worker outreach to victims and survivors of trafficking, as well as protection programs such as Lotus Kid’s Club and more! Through partnerships with other in-country NGOs, our team will continue to support survivors by creating opportunities for vocational and life skills trainings. Please join us in prayer and celebration for all that has been done, and what will continue, in Siem Reap!
*Given full funding for the facility.