Toha, from Cambodia, hadn't yet reached 15 when she was taken to a hospital to receive a virginity certificate. Soon after, she found herself in a hotel bedroom with a stranger.
That happened because her family had sold her virginity to cover their debts.
It wouldn't take long before she ended up working in a brothel in southern Cambodia. Toha stayed there for less than a month - a stretch of time that may sound short, but was enough for her to be raped by 198 men until she was rescued.
This harsh reality is not, however, confined to Cambodia's borders. Many women have also been trafficked from their home country into other nations, such as mainland China - where they do not speak the local language and have even slimmer chances to seek help.
But some end up being rescued by authorities with the help of NGOs such as Agape International Missions (AIM) - the only group that has two SWAT teams allowed by the Cambodian authorities to conduct investigations and perform raids.
Two members of the non-profit - which has not only rescued hundreds of women, but also provided support and created job opportunities both for victims and those at risk - visited Hong Kong this month to meet donors and look for new ethical business partnerships.
"We are here meeting people and discussing ways of creating more jobs … I am going back with jewellery samples for girls to make and we will be working with businesses here who want to source things ethically," said Melissa Stock, director of international development for AIM.
Most of the Christian organisation's supporters are based in Hong Kong and the United States. "One of our employment centres is doing what it's doing because of a Hong Kong businessman. We were able to be one of his satellite factories in Cambodia," she said.
Stock notes that 90 per cent of the girls who are rescued will end up as trafficking victims again if they are not given the skills to get a job and lead a better life.
All Cambodia's 25 provinces have been described as sources for human trafficking.
"Cambodian and ethnic Vietnamese women and girls move from rural areas to cities and tourist destinations, where they are subjected to sex trafficking in brothels and, more frequently, such 'indirect' sex establishments as beer gardens, massage parlours, salons, karaoke bars, retail spaces, and non-commercial sites," described the latest annual Trafficking in Persons report by the US State Department.
Matthew Stock, the Cambodia country director for AIM, noted that some deeply ingrained problems have fuelled human trafficking in Cambodia. Most Cambodians live on less than US$2 a day, with young children sometimes being seen as a source of income.
"It's poverty and desperation. Some families have a massive debt, others do not have the means to provide for the rest of the family and they are offered US$5,000 for this child," said Matthew Stock, noting that AIM has consistently rescued children under five years old.
Cultural issues, such as a belief that women are less valuable than men and have an obligation to provide for their families, have also contributed to the growing illicit trade.
They accompany new internal factors, such as a flourishing casino industry, and external trends, including the gender imbalance in mainland China.
"Every time you bring in a casino there are certain elements and things that follow. There is a certain type of entertainment that goes along with that. But we can't say that a specific casino or game is tied to that," Matthew Stock noted.
No specific cases related to casinos have been identified by AIM, he said.
Across the border, AIM's leaders noted that the trafficking of women to China is also an emerging problem that may get even worse in the years to come without proper intervention. China's disproportionate number of single men who can't find partners in their home country is at the root of the demand.
"We assist the Cambodian government, who is trying very hard to deal with this issue where girls are promised jobs across the border. They get over there and they find out that someone paid between US$10,000-20,000 for a bride, so what happens is that they will be 'married'," Matthew Stock described.
"Their passports are held. And, after they have a child, the guy sells the girl again to pay off his debt and the cycle continues."
As of October 2016, AIM had successfully rescued 50 girls from China and provided them with support in Cambodia.
There are no recent figures available. But, less than three months ago, Cambodian authorities and an AIM Swat team intervened in a case that involved a 21-year-old woman who was trapped in an abusive marriage in China.
On January 24, the T'bong Khmom Police together with the Swat team arrested two females suspected of selling the woman.
The victim had been psychologically and physically abused by her "husband" and his family. She eventually escaped and was repatriated to Cambodia with the help of the AIM China team.
According to Stock, no further details can be provided because the case is still pending.
Although it is hard to tell how many Cambodians have been trafficked to mainland China over the past years, the latest Trafficking in Persons report noted that "a significant number of women from rural areas are recruited under false pretences to travel to China to enter into marriages with Chinese men, who often incur as much as $20,000 in debt to brokers facilitating the transaction; some of these women are then subjected to forced factory labour or forced prostitution as a result of this debt".
This problem is also affecting other countries in the region. A study released in December showed that more than 7,500 women from Myanmar had gone through forced marriages with Chinese men in the past five years. Most of them were coerced into bearing children with their husbands.
Matthew Stock said, while "human trafficking is definitely on the up swing" in Cambodia, government authorities have made greater efforts to fight it.
"They are trying very hard and we've worked with very diligent officers. There's been a shift in perspective and some people are really trying to make a change within the country." But "crime adapts and changes … When we initially came to Cambodia (in 2013) it was more open-faced brothels, but now is more of an underground process. There's the dark web … We are also trying to adapt and be creative."
Toha, the victim who was sold and abused when she was a teenager, is now 23 years old and she has become a social worker at AIM. Her story became part of an anti-sex trafficking awareness campaign that includes bracelets made of recycled bullets with "22" marked on it - the days she had to spend in a brothel. "It's a number we can't forget," Melissa Stock said.
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