Interview with Kellie, Director of Iris Cambodia
1. What made you go to Cambodia, what was on your heart when you were first called there?
I first went to Cambodia because of a dream. I dreamt about children being exploited in South East Asia. It compelled me to go and explore to see for myself if this is a reality. When I arrived in Cambodia I knew from what I saw that I could not return to my normal. I could not unsee what my eyes had seen. My heart was broken watching men taking children into hotel rooms and massage parlours. My hearts desire was and still is to empower children, and see an end to the demand for s*x with children.
2. What is an honest struggle that you face daily when trying to fight human trafficking?
Honestly, the hardest thing for me is when we have rescued a child and we cannot give them the justice that they deserve for what ever reason. Sometime there is nothing we can do until certain evidence is acquired and the wait knowing how difficult it is for the victim during that process.
It’s also very difficult to watch men and women from all over the world come here to exploit innocent children. To use women who are in debt bondage or have no choice but to work in s*x bars.
3. In your experiences with the people on the streets, what is the root of human trafficking in cambodia, how can people in Singapore or around the world help?
From my personal experience there are many factors that add to the issues here.
- Lack of quality education
- 2nd generation PTSD from the genocide.
- Debt bondage
The greatest thing that you can do to help is firstly pray, continue to pray daily that God will awaken the world to take note of this evil and that it will stop.
Share and become an advocate for NGO’s that are really making a difference to aid the battle against Human Trafficking.
Finally the best way is to give. Not just financially but to give your time to do all of the above and more. Gather and share with friends, church groups and work places about what is happening across Cambodia.
4. If one of the girls had a voice and opportunity to share with the world what they went through in a few sentences, what would they say?
We had one women a few years ago absolutely broken and bruised by the life she was being forced to live. After her recovery and restoration she said that she felt like she went from death to life. That she now fully lives where before she felt like she lived but was fully dead! This impacted me so much when I heard her story fully for the first time.
5. Is there a specific story of a rescue that comes to mind that brought you to the end of yourself with no happy ending? How do you deal with the disappointment or people you are not able to rescue?
Yes, I met a young boy who had been raped. He was crying and writhing in pain. We called a special hotline because it was 3am and no other shelters were open. He was placed somewhere with an open door policy, he was back on the streets within four days. It broke my heart to see him again. Now he is scared to go to any aftercare facility because of his experience with them.
6. How do you refresh yourself in the Lord or strengthen yourself in the Lord and what has he been saying to you in this season about what he will do through you and Iris cambodia , if you don't mind sharing! =)
For me it's taking time off to be in nature or with my family. I get recharged being in His creation. I always play worship and spend time getting filled with the word. God is the only one who can refuel an empty tank. We start our working mornings with worship and the word before we start our day. It makes the biggest difference.
In this season God has spoken to all of us about distraction. Its ok to be still and quite with Him. Not to be distracted by all the little things around us. To be focused on what he is saying and how we can move forward with passion because we are choosing to keep ourselves centered on him and not whats happening around us.
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