SOLD AT FIVE
A Young Boy, Trafficked for Labor, Shares His Story
Socheat* can still remember the day he was sold. He was five years old. He watched two strangers give money to his mother and brother. Then he had to leave his family and go with the couple.
Socheat had grown up with his mother, brothers, and sisters. Though he was born missing some of his fingers due to a congenital constrictive anomaly, he was still able to help his family grow rice and vegetables to sell.
After he was sold, Socheat was taken along with many more children to Bangkok, where he was forced to beg. Socheat’s left leg became very painful and swollen and soon he was unable to walk without a stick. He was given no medicine or time to rest. He was made to work harder because of his disability.
"I remember one day I was so hungry," Socheat said. "But I could not crawl as far as the market. A Thai monk took pity on me and gave me food and water."
Socheat was finally apprehended by Thai police. At eight years old, he was kept in a detention center for two years. He suffered beatings inflicted by adults detained there, too. Then, he was repatriated to Cambodia where he was brought to Hagar.
From such a traumatic past, it took Socheat nearly two years to settle in to his Hagar foster home. He needed to learn to trust.
Now, Socheat is a teenager. He is praised at school for his good behavior and his work ethic. He loves going on outings, and he expresses love and concern for all members of his foster family. Doing well in math, he dreams of becoming an accountant.