She remembers a home that looked fancy on the outside but ominous on the inside, a dark maze of bare chambers. She remembers the parade of men, one after the other, day by day, forcing her to have sex. She remembers contemplating death. She wasn’t yet 10 years old.
Her name is Sreypich Loch, and she was a slave in a Cambodian brothel. If she refused sex, she says, she would be beaten, shocked with an electric cord, denied food and water. “What else could I do?” she asks.
Loch, now around 20 years old, managed to escape that world and works today to rescue other girls. She helps grab them out of brothels, and she hosts a radio show in Phnom Penh, giving the girls a forum for their stories. It’s a groundbreaking effort for a young woman and former sex slave in this male-dominated society.
She hopes that by talking about her past, she will help people understand that slavery is alive and well. When people “hear the voice of the survivor,” she says on a recent visit to New York City, “we can help others.”