Much was hidden from the tourists visiting Sinet Chan in her rundown Cambodian orphanage. When they returned to their hotels, cameras full and best intentions sated, they remained oblivious to the reality of what they had just supported. Chan, the nine-year-old who sang and danced for them, was being starved. She and the other children hunted and ate mice to survive. The orphanage’s director beat and raped her, repeatedly, over the course of several years. She was forced to toil in his rice paddies and farms without pay. Clothes and toys donated to her would be taken to the market, sold, and used to line the director’s pockets. “I thought it might be a good place. Maybe I could have enough food to eat, have a chance to go to school. But actually what I imagined is wrong,” Chan told Guardian Australia. “He dressed us up looking poor so the visitors see us, they feel pity for us, and they donate more,” she said. “But they don’t really know what was going on inside the orphanage.” What the tourists saw was a pantomime. A cruel theatre with vulnerable children as its cast. Chan was one child of an estimated 16,500… Read full this story
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