Dispatch From Cambodia: Legal Support for Women and Children

This is a blog post from Caroline Riss, MLSA Staff Attorney, who is in Cambodia on exchange to assist with a legal organization.I arrived in Cambodia safely and was met by our hostesses Soeum Soren and Soken at the airport. The seventeen hours of flying was a bit rough but so worth it!My first day was filled with “firsts” – like taking my first tuk tuk (a motorcycle that pulls a covered seat), exploring my first Cambodian market, seeing my first skinned frog for sale, and going to my first Cambodian Legal Aid office! Soren was a great hostess, making sure that I felt comfortable everywhere and introducing me to her co-workers and friends.Caroline in Front of Legal Support for Women and ChildrenThe Legal Support for Children and Women in Cambodia office was very interesting. I had the opportunity to meet with the Deputy Director, Chan Somaly. She spoke with me about the successes of the LSCW office and the struggles. She said that LSCW is known for theircreative approach to problem solving. One example of their creativity is how they approach education around human trafficking. Instead of going to the rural villages and educating people about human trafficking, they recruit people who have been trafficked to come and speak to the communities about their experiences. This allows the villagers to hear first hand about the migrants experiences and often their extreme suffering. You can read more about the migrant project on their website.Chan also spoke about their struggles – not enough lawyers, not enough funding, lack of technology and rural communities that need assistance. Sounds a bit like our struggles in Montana.LSCW does a lot of work with women and children. They were excited to hear about Montana Legal Services domestic violence work and I spoke with them about my job at MTLSA. I will be speaking with the lawyers at LSCW about gender based violence in Montana and family law later this week.

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