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By the River

Ian Flanders | Cambodia

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After three long years of helping to build a bridge to freedom for a group of enslaved prostitutes in the Cambodian capital, Phnom Penh, the last thing Ian expected was the confronting realisation that opportunity was not enough. The arduous and precarious task of building trust and developing relationships with some of these women - who had no reason to trust anyone - had educated him in the complexity of their lives. Regardless, he had no foresight that the choice to cross may have been a bridge too far. 

Ian simply could not cast aside his own morality after witnessing first hand the young women feeding their drug addiction, bruises from beatings, self-harm and submitting to their duty no matter the condition of their health.

He developed serious and unresolvable qualms during the three years documenting inside the shacks – of which came to partial rest on November 12 2014, when the necessary information he was supplying the NGO resulted in the rescue of eight women and three children from the brothel, along with the arrest and prosecution of the traffickers.

Agape International Missions – Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

This case and the positive result for the women and girls involved would not have been possible without the valuable assistance of Ian. His unwavering determination to help these trafficking victims over a long period of time despite the personal risk and cost to himself enabled us to gain the necessary information to build the case with the Police resulting in the rescue of the victims and the arrest and prosecution of the traffickers. 

The victims are receiving specialised care as they start the process of rebuilding their lives towards a brighter future.  His passion and desire to help in the fight against sexual slavery is commendable as is his willingness to work through the official channels to help the victims involved.

– Eric Meldrum. Director of Investigations at Agape International Missions.

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