What does International Women’s day mean to you?

Last year after having a specialist appointment with my daughter at the hospital, I drove back to work. It was International Women’s Day and they spoke on the stats of human trafficking. I had and have refused to let myself realise the reality of what happened to me because thankfully I walked away.
 

  • I was 19 years old

  • Had already spent time with my Dad in Cambodia

  • Myself and my girlfriends from NZ left Cambodia to explore the islands in Thailand

  • I left my girlfriends to party on the islands of Thailand and travelled alone to return to Cambodia

  • Stayed in Khao San Road / Bangkok whilst waiting to return to Cambodia ( 2 days )

  • Felt all of a sudden very ill and disorientated after dinner on my own - I have a cast iron stomach and not prone to being sick in Asia

  • Went to the corner drug store for anti-nausea tablets

  • A “helpful person” took me under their wing – young, the same age as me

  • I woke 10 hours later and there were 7 men in the room.

  • I was still fully clothed and thankfully had not been messed with

  • One man was on the phone and although I didn’t speak the language ( it wasn’t Thai ) he was quoting airplane seats and arrival dates

  • Somehow, somewhere my street smarts kicked in and I told them my Dad worked for the UN in Cambodia and after a (long terrifying ) period of debating between themselves I walked free. 

 

 

For many years I refused to go back to that moment because I felt stupid and naïve when in reality, I got myself out. I now take stock of how easily your life can change. If I didn’t have my Dad to fall back on, if I was just a main stream “back packer’ millions of miles from home, how different it could have been. Human Trafficking is very real, Teen to 20 something women from the west are very valuable.

On International Women’s day I reflect on the injustice and the vulnerability of women. I also count my blessing that I am surrounded by beautifully strong men that would never tolerate abuse to any women.

 

On international women’s day it’s a reminder to understand we are all in this together and from that change will happen.