Two weeks ago we received the first signal that S.L. was not well. She slept in the park and that made her difficult to track down. Homeless, sex worker, hiv positive. (Pay attention: startling photo!)
Sex worker in the dusk
We wrote before about the unhealthy practices resulting from poverty, but very harmful: sandal oil injections. For trans women who want breasts, but can not afford hormonal therapy and surgery. The ‘market’ for sex workers is tough. When one gets older, one will get less clients. Moreover, prostitution is illegal in Cambodia and therefore extra risky. Police are hunting sex workers; boys and transgenders often have to suffer extra severely. Clients are aware of the weak position of sex workers confronted with the police. Ill-treatment, rape and robbery – sex workers get to deal with these matters.
Raped, hiv positive, homeless
So S.L. had to experience this as well. Our partner organization Bandanh Chaktomok (the national LGBT network Cambodia) found her two weeks ago in the park near Wat Phnom (see upper photo) and reported us as follows:
She turned only last year hiv positive, because she had been raped without condom by a gangster and drug users while she hang about in Wat Phnom area. Being hiv positive she injected sandal oil into her breast and then it went seriously wrong: allergies and cancer. So she needs urgently money for a life saving operation.
Sandal oil brought her huge swellings in stead of breasts; presumably an allergic reaction or even cancer. Anyway, she is urgently in need of medical care and surgery.
Complicating is that S.L. rarely earns enough money for renting a room, so she lives and sleeps for weeks in open air in the park. Two weeks more went by before she was found again and the volunteers of Bandanh Chaktomok could put things right.
By way of exception Untenu decided Tuesday (June 12) to make available twice the usual amount. Bandanh Chaktomok will try to find more donors and will negotiate with a hospital about the price of the treatment.
How S.L. will get along is uncertain, but the main thing is that she gets medical care now.
We continue to help
And you can help us to continue our mission: provide emergency assistance, payed internships and education tot HIV positive LGBTI’s who live in poverty in Cambodia.
Help throughout Cambodia
Click on a city and see the help we have offered over the years. At every city shortcuts to stories behind the help.