Phnom Penh, Cambodia (CNN) -- Aaron Cohen first met Jonty Thern and her older sister, Channy, in 2005 while singing in a karaoke bar in Battambang, Cambodia. He has come back to see them every year since.
The California native often schedules his trips for November, the month when Cambodians celebrate the Bonn Om Teuk water festival, marking the end of the rainy season.
Christmas 2009 and New Year’s 2010
Our dearest friends and benefactors,
On behalf of One Body Village as well as our young orphaned and sexually abused children, we would like to wish all of you a blessed Christmas and a happy New Year with your loved ones. We would also like to take this opportunity to thank you for joining us in our mission to better the lives of these children; offering them hope for the future.
As this wonderful season of joy approaches, this letter most likely finds you excitedly making celebration plans with friends and family. These holidays, while you are surrounded by love and joy, young lives are still being shattered every day as children are being forced into sex slavery. Thinking of they’re entrapment pains me, a wrenching heartache that has lasted more than a decade.
For more than ten years, we have tirelessly worked to both directly and indirectly save, nurture, and care for over 200 children and young adults. Although it may seem like a large number, 200 children is barely scratching the surface … just a few grains on a sandy beach. There are over 30,000 children in need of our help! Many One Body Village children have been able to overcome their haunting past experiences, and have returned to happy, healthy, normal lifestyles. This is our greatest accomplishment, and our greatest joy! Thanks to all your help!
With this joy, comes great worry and concern. This is the worry of nearly 30 young girls that we are caring for in One Body Village homes. The projected cost of providing for these children and continuing our rescue endeavors in 2009 has grown to $100,000. Currently, we are nearing the end of December and One Body Village has only managed to raise a little less than $70,000! Hopefully our girls will receive many “Christmas gifts” this year from all of you to help us continue our mission.
This January Father Martino, our founder, will once again embark on his yearly “vacation.” Accompanying him this year are five motivated young adults, and we are certain they will all return with many tales to share! We hope you will continue to support us into the future, not only monetarily, but spiritually as well through your prayers and emotional support. Thank you for joining us in fighting for these girls, and continuing to be their voice. May God bless you and your family this holiday season.
With grace and peace,
Father Martino Nguyen Ba-Thong Vu Kim Nga, MD
- An estimated 2 million children, the majority of them girls, are sexually exploited in the multi-billion dollar commercial sex industry. (Source:UNICEF)
-Sexual exploitation of children occurs in every country in the world. Child prostitutes serve between 2 and 25 clients per day, meaning each child serves from 830 to 9,150 clients per year. These children are often drugged and develop drug and alcohol addictions.
" Child prostitution is not acceptable in any country. It is child abuse and illegal in all countries around the world. Children who are prostituted rarely go on to a normal life. They suffer long-term emotional, physical and social problems. Girls may have reproductive problems due to the immaturity of their bodies when they become sexually active. HIV and AIDS are also widely seen among prostituted children." (Source:ECPAT)
- Human trafficking generates an estimated $9.5 billion a year (source:UNICEF-www.unicef.org/media/media_39201.html)
- Children as young as 5 years old are sold into sexual slavery and forced to work in brothels. (Source: MSNBC-Children for sale-www.msnbc.msn.com/id/4038249)
- An estimated 300,000 children and adolescents are the victims of domestic trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation in the United States every year.(soucre:UNICEF-http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/usa_46464.html)
- Hundreds of thousands of children, some as young as 5 years old are being kidnapped, bought or sold as slaves for sex each year. Not only are they being stripped of their innocence at a young age, they are being stripped down and brutally raped each day. Young girls as young as 8 years old are sold to grown men and forced to perform oral sex and various sexual acts. Children Sex Slavery is the most horrifying kind of human exploitation possible. Can you imagine if this was your younger sister or yourself being forced to endure these sexual abuses?
OUR FIRST STEP
By simply raising awareness, we can make a great difference.
Please spread the word to your friends and community!
The 34-year-old Cambodian leads the AFESIP association, which rescues girls and young women from brothels in Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam. She is separated from her husband and lives near Phnom Penh with her children: Melissa, 14, Adana, 9, and Nicolai, 3
"Trafficking in human persons is a horrific crime and should be combated with all the legal means and resources available," Bishop Wester said." The enactment of this legislation is another important step toward eradicating this scourge, both in the United States and globally."
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We spent these Vietnamese New Year days of 2007, away from home and our loved ones, with the ethics people in Kon Tum.We gathered the children and the adults at two different sites.These pictures conveyed the joy of the adults receiving a box of instant noodle and 50 pounds of rice!The rice and the noodle made their New Year celebration more meaningful - Why? Because they have food on their table!
(from the OBV's Bylaws)
Again, these pictures were taken in 2002. A group of friends that included Father Martino (Ordained 2004 - Diocese of Savannah), Father John Tung (Ordained 2006 - Archdiocese of Washington), Father Paul Phu (Ordained 2006 - Archdiocese of Washington) and Doctor An Do (2008 - Atlanta, GA) traveled by a 50-passenger bus to Binh Duong (60 miles North West of Sai Gon) to prepare meals at a home housing the homeless children.
These are some of the pictures taken during Christmas of 2002 - We gathered some of the children near the Binh Hung Hoa Cemetery to give them gifts! We hope that you enjoy seeing these pictures as much as we enjoyed handing them out and the kids who received them!
We spent these Vietnamese New Year days of 2007 away from home and our loved ones, with the ethics people in Kon Tum. We gathered the children and the adults at two different sites. These pictures conveyed the joy of all they children - Wow! Don't they look so beautiful! Yes, they do! But don't you know that is the only good set of clothes they have! I only pray that children in the US have the same joy, thanksgiving, and grateful hearts as these children!