Despite, we are fighting hard against COVID-19 pandemic, it is my duty to continue providing service for survivors of gender-based violence
25 November 2020
As long as there is someone who needs my support, I will be on the way to give them my hands no matter what, no matter what virus we have in the world.
My name is Kong Ravin, and I always proudly say that I am a female police officer. To be more specific, I am a Deputy Chief of Unit of the Anti-Human Trafficking and Juvenile Protection Office, Provincial Police Commissariat of Kandal Province in Cambodia. It has been six years that I serve the community as a judicial police officer. I love running in the field, fighting against crimes and supporting survivors, especially women and girls who have experienced abuse or rape. I and all other female police officers play a critical role in not only the arrest of the perpetrators but also bringing back justice to the survivors, which they deserve. There should be more female police officers.
If there was no pandemic situation as we have right now, my daily routine could depend on the case we received. It could be supporting survivors of trafficking in persons, could be transferring survivors to shelters, or filing a case of domestic violence. However, I guess like all of us, a new task has been added to my routine which is patrolling at the quarantine centres. I take turns with my colleagues on the new duty, and make sure people are following the rules of the centre. Lots of women migrant workers stayed in the quarantine centres, those who used to work and live in other countries. So they have certain commonalities among themselves, which could make them close easily. However, rules are the rules, we had to keep the distance from each other. Sometimes it is hard to keep them from chitchatting-mostly about how they are worried about their families and kids, but it is my job to make sure social distancing is in place even at the quarantine centre.
Now I am a bit used to this whole mess, however, I was very scared and had no clue on what I should do when COVID-19 first started. I was concerned about my family. I even asked my mother not to go to the hospital to get her regular prescription. I did not want to go out of my house and wanted to stay at home with my family. However, it is my duty to protect everyone not just from the virus but also from the violent situation that could still occur during the pandemic. The police made the decision to call all the officers to be a mission for 24 hours while COVID-19 was at the pick, which I didn’t mind at all. As long as there is someone who needs my support, I will be on the way to give them my hands no matter what, no matter what virus we have in the world. I recall, there was a case of a Cambodian woman who migrated to China for work, however, once she arrived at the airport she was ‘sold’ as a bride which she did not agree or was informed, and her passport was taken away from her. Worst of all, she was trapped in the house and exposed to the abusive behaviour of her ‘husband’. It was lucky for her that her family could contact for help and we could jump into the situation. Unfortunately, she is not the only one who had gone through a similar situation.
It is good to migrate. It is their choice and their right to make the decision. It takes courage to be a woman migrant worker and I respect that. One thing I would like to say for women who are thinking about migrating to another country to work, please double-check, triple-check if the path you would like to choose is safe, and check if you are fully aware of the regulations and situations. Best to remember the emergency contact or at least carry the number always with you. And for all the community members, we should not judge or discriminate against women migrant workers. I know there is a weird stereotype on women who work abroad and came back home. They migrate to work for their family so they should be called heroes of their family. Last, for police officers just like me, let’s remind ourselves that it is our duty to protect them and to equip ourselves with the most up-to-date knowledge on things like, how to get support from the embassies, contact information to referral cases involving women migrant workers, or keep our eyes on recruiting companies. We all have our roles in ending violence against women migrant workers.
Ravin is one of the participants of Skills for Providing Quality Services for Front Line Service Providers Training of Trainer which is organised by UN Joint Programme "Safe and Fair". Safe and Fair: Realizing women migrant workers’ rights and opportunities in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region is part of the Spotlight Initiative to eliminate violence against women and girls, a global, multi-year initiative between the European Union (EU) and the United Nations (UN). Safe and Fair is implemented through a partnership between the ILO and UN Women (in collaboration with UNODC) with the overriding objective of ensuring that labour migration is safe and fair for all women in the ASEAN region.