Over the past year, we’ve seen how COVID-19 has affected our work in Cambodia. Thanks to the dedication of our community, the constant fight against child sex trafficking never stopped. We continued our humanitarian aid efforts. Our SWAT Team is still actively addressing exploitation and abuse. Additionally, the AIM School was praised in the midst of closures and restrictions.
If you were to zero in on the true reason we have been able to continue our efforts to end trafficking and bring Christ’s healing and transformative love to the vulnerable, you would see our staff. Despite all the trials and challenges the pandemic brought, there has never been a time where this was on display more than the last year. This incredible, on-the-ground army of humble and brave people traipse through hell and high water each day for the sake of every woman and child in our care. These are just a few of their stories…
As the Team Liaison in Cambodia, Soknang has been the one that many of our visitors from around the world see! For almost 10 years, he has been a bright and friendly face around AIM, now showing our guests the ins and outs of our operations while sharing his heart for Christ and for service to the community. Soknang started out as a student of AIM’s English classes when he was young. There, he heard the Gospel and decided to pursue discipleship at Rahab’s House Church. He is now using his passion for connecting with others through his role as a team coordinator. Given the pandemic and heavy travel restrictions, AIM put a hold on all tours and visitors at the beginning of 2020, and Soknang’s work as Team Liaison was turned on its head. However, because of his love for ministry and working with communities in need, Soknang asked if he could be relocated to Siem Reap, almost 150 miles from his home base in Phnom Penh. For several months at a time, he worked with social workers at AIM’s Lotus Kid’s Club, helping them, going on home visits, and handing out humanitarian aid packages. Back in Phnom Penh, he would continue to help with humanitarian aid efforts and ministering to the community. Soknang truly exemplifies what it looks like to be the hands and feet of Jesus. We are blessed to have him on our team!
Sokutheary and SotheaKeo
At the end of 2020, SotheaKeo was newly hired as a social worker at AIM’s Employment Center (AEC) in Svay Pak, Cambodia. Together with Sokutheary, their heart was to minister to survivors of trafficking as they began living their life of freedom with safe, sustainable employment. However, as COVID lockdowns and closures began around Cambodia and the Employment Center was closed for extended periods of time, the social workers faced limited options for assisting these women. The entire social worker team, consisting of 3 women, would consistently reach out to AEC employees to check on them and their families. However, SotheaKeo had bigger ideas! She and Sokutheary began hosting weekly Bible studies via video call with AEC employees. Each week, these women would not only check on the physical and emotional well-being of the employees, but they were determined to provide a space for spiritual growth also! Our team of dedicated social workers knows just how important spiritual well-being is for the healing and restoration of survivors. We are so proud to work alongside them in this fight!
Monea, Leakena, and Mara
When AIM began fighting human trafficking over 15 years ago, we started with a Restoration Home for survivors who needed the space to heal, grow, and be loved with the unconditional love of Christ. Since then, the staff at our Restoration Homes have been the lifeblood of this mission. They embody the relentless love of God as they care for women and girls who have been through the unimaginable. So, when COVID lockdowns forced families to stay in their homes, a few key staff members stepped up to ensure that our Restoration Homes were continuing to run smoothly and girls were still being cared for. Monea, Leakena, and Mara each made the decision to move into the homes during the lockdown, leading staff through uncertain times, making sure food and supplies were available to the women and girls in their care, and even ensuring other staff members were safe in their respective homes. The sacrifice these women made was vital in getting through the COVID lockdowns while simultaneously refocusing staff on faith and trusting in God through uncertainty!
“Their hopes for the future make me do what I’m doing and their smiles keep me moving.”Leakena
“I want to serve God and share his love with our girls and give them a new hope, help to develop their future, and help them to grow and walk in the way of Jesus’ kingdom.”Monea
“This job is hard but God has given me the strength to do it. God has given me a heart to love and give these girls a chance like God has given me a chance.”Mara
These are just a few of the dozens of examples of how our staff has gone above and beyond over the last year. We thank God for blessing us with such dedicated staff who each have a heart for serving Him and their community.