The Storm Makers
Half a million Cambodians work abroad, a third of them are exploited as slaves. The film tells the story of Aya, a girl who returned pregnant after two years of exploitation. We also meet two ‘recruiters’: characters who make good money enlisting young people. Cambodians call them ‘storm makers’.
In Thailand, Malaysia and Taiwan – but sometimes also in Europe and the US – Cambodian men work in construction or the shrimp industry and women as servants, factory workers or prostitutes. Wages are ridiculously low and work conditions harsh. If they ever return home, they are often maimed and traumatised. The recruiters are known as ‘storm makers’. According to one eyewitness: ‘When they arrive in a village, they bring storm and tears with them.’
Entire villages are empty after a visit from a recruiter who convinces parents to send their children abroad, hoping to secure a better future. But the promise of good money is always false and recruiters are all-powerful. In the words of one girl, ‘There is no justice. Rich people and traffickers always win.’ A born-again Christian who is a successful recruiter enjoys his wealth, fearing only one thing: ‘Losing the money. I love money.’
Cambodia, France 2014, 66 min.
Spoken language: Khmer
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IDFA Bertha Fund