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Written by Father Martino Nguyen Ba Thong

After the first five articles were released, I received "complaints" that the stories of this journey have not been as interesting as those of my previous trips! Goodness knows I am not a mystery writer writing a best-selling thriller! The purpose of my trip was not to find subject matter for a new story full of suspense and excitement; my articles are a collection of little anecdotes of occurrences  throughout my journey.

Savannah, Georgia

March 1, 2008

Dear Readers,

Since 2000, I have been collecting stories and experiences from our work in rescuing, rehabilitating, and supporting young women and children from the cycle of sexual abuse and sex trafficking. These stories have been troubling, trying, and downright agonizing, but these are stories that need to be told. These are stories that need to be heard.

“I’m Not Stepping Foot into a Church”

After more than three years of working with One Body Village in Cambodia I’d like to believe that I’ve built a foundation of trust, not only among the girls who we’re trying to help, but also among the pimps, and among the guards who were paid to follow us and “keep an eye” on the girls and make sure that I didn’t try to help them escape.

“Purchasing My Virginity”

Nga was not one of the “lucky” few who were actually intoxicated or drugged. After being bought, the predator took her into the bedroom and raped her. She resisted vehemently. She cried, screamed, and even tried to scratch and claw, but her resistance was met with threats and abuse. The predator then tied her hands and feet to the four corners of the bed and stuffed her mouth with a towel.

More than half of a lifetime!

I don't remember my hometown. I just know that I was born in Vietnam, where there are lots of rice fields. In 1996, when I was nine years old, a lady brought me to Cambodia to be a waitress at a coffee shop. It turns out that I wasn't brought here to be a waitress. I was brought here to fulfill the sexual desires of customers. I was passed back and forth between pimps and brothels. Since that time, my life has been a living hell. I had no contact with my family or the outside world.