To raise awareness of human trafficking, photographer Cong Yan spent four years documenting the life of a Cambodian woman in China.
Buntha first arrived at the Shanghai Pudong International Airport from Cambodia in November 2013 with little to her name other than a tourist visa. As soon as she was off the plane, she was whisked into a packed car and driven overnight to Huanggang, a rural town in the eastern province of Jiangxi. It was there that the 32-year-old met her groom-to-be: a local man and part-time laborer 15 years her senior surnamed Zou.
Buntha — who asked to be identified by just her first name — grew up in a remote village in Kampong Cham province, Cambodia. One of the poorest countries in Asia, it has few opportunities for young, largely uneducated women like herself. Most women from her village end up working at garment factories sewing designer clothes and handbags for little over $100 a month. Buntha remembers being awestruck when she saw China’s massive, sparkling metropolises on TV. So, when a local marriage broker offered her $1,000 and a deal — go to China and get married — she agreed, dreaming of the day she could support her farming family.
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