Srey Rath: A Girl’s Story From Half the Sky
I want to share with you a story from Half the Sky. This is a typical story of what is happening to many teenage girls around the world. Read this powerful book to find out more about Srey Rath, but I will start her story here.
When Rath, a Cambodian, was 15 years old, her family had no money. She decided to go to Thailand and get a job as a dishwasher for two months to help her family. Rath arranged to travel with four of her friends, who had also been promised jobs in the same Thai restaurant, so her family thought she would be safe and allowed her to go.
Rath was NOT going to work in a restaurant, and she quickly realized she was in terrible trouble. Gangsters took her and her friends to a karoke lounge that was also a brothel. The boss told the girls that they must find money to pay off their debt (the boss had paid money for them), and then he would send them back home. Next, the boss locked Rath up with a customer who tried to force her to have sex, but she fought back.
This enraged the boss who beat her up. Then he and his gangsters repeatedly raped her. He threatened her and said if she didn’t serve the customers, he would kill her. He gave her a pill that made her head shake and induced lethargy, happiness, and compliance for an hour. When she wasn’t drugged, Rath cried, which wasn’t appropriate for the customers. She and her friends worked in the brothel 7 days a week, fifteen hours a day. Many customers did not use condoms.
Four girls, including Rath, escaped their apartment by placing a board between their balcony and the next building and inching across it. The man in the next apartment building let them in, and then they ran out his front door. They went to a police station where they were ARRESTED for illegal immigration. Next, she served a year in jail. When she was released, a police officer sold her to another Thai brothel.
To find out what happened to Rath and how the authors of Half the Sky interviewed her, you need to pick up a copy of the book. Her story is the first one you’ll come to in the introduction. Come back tomorrow when I show you an organization that is trying to help girls like Rath.
To end on a positive note (although I realize life is not always positive), I want to tell you about a contest my writing friend, Becky Povich, is having on her blog. She is giving away some children’s books she won–a great set of Judy Blume books as well as various other individual titles from popular series such as Magic School Bus and Cam Jansen. The contest is easy to enter and lasts all week!