Transcript for Cambodian sex trade survivor confronts her past: Part 2
On a night like this, filled with prayer and light -- We're having a blast tonight. It's easy to forget Cambodia's dark past. A civilization almost destroyed by civil war and genocide. Experts say it was out of that brutal and lawless period that prostitution and child trafficking began to flourish. Officials say the problem is getting better. Prostitution is now illegal. But don Brewster says it's still rampant. Operating out of massage parlors, bars, karaoke lounges. The front is that you go in, and you're going to sing songs, right? They'll bring in 20 to 30 girls. If you like them, then you negotiate sex. Reporter: Just out of sight, in certain back rooms, there are still underaged girls being sold and abused, just as soka was. I got beat a lot and hit a lot. Not allowed to talk to another people. So what about the police? It's so obvious what it is. There's police that aren't fully equipped. Then there's a segment of the police, this is how they make their money, protecting these places. Reporter: So two years ago, don and Bridget took matters into their own hands. Creating their own brothel raiding S.W.A.T. Team. Working alongside the Cambodian national police for what they say is a higher cause. If you look at what Christ said, right, he told us to go into the worst possible places. I think he wants Christians to be kick-ass. This is the investigations office -- Reporter: Leading the S.W.A.T. Effort is Eric milder. We anticipate there will be sex victims in there. Reporter: A former uk police officer. My job is to get the intelligence. Reporter: Ten years ago, undercovers like these went into the brothel where soka was held captive, posing as Johns. I heard my friends say that one guy come in and just play with the girls. Just play pool. Reporter: That's when police stormed in to rescue her. Today "Nightline" is going inside a raid to rescue other underage girls and take down an alleged sex trafficker known as the mama-san. Mama-san is the main person in charge, the main trafficker, the woman who's running the brothel. Reporter: In their crosshairs, this massage parlor which they say is actually a front for a brothel. There's at least one minor there. When they give the signal they'll call us. Reporter: After weeks of planning, the raid is a go. This is the van that they will be going into to do the raid. Nice to meet you. Reporter: In the command center, all eyes are on this man. He's on the phone with an undercover inside the brothel. They're just waiting on the mama-san. Reporter: But there's a problem. The underaged girls are no longer there. Do you have any idea how old the victims are? The youngest one we believe is 15. This is the worst part. Waiting? Yeah. Reporter: Hours later, the raid is back on. Our video person. They'll undoubtedly have knifes. Mama-san is there? Yeah. There on your left. Reporter: The woman in red. That's the mama-san. They go room by room. Evidence of sex throughout. A red mattress on the floor. Condoms. Watching them collect all this evidence, it seems to become too much for the mama-san. She's having a heart attack? Reporter: But she revives quickly. You're hope to see this big, mean guy come out. Normally it's a woman. Reporter: Then the moment they all hoped for. The young girls appear. Saved from a life of terror and darkness. The rescued girls are taken by van to the police station. Flanked by aim social workers. Soka knows what they're feeling, having gone through it once herself. Me and my friends in the car together, we cry about it. Because we thought that we going to go to the jail. We didn't do anything wrong. Reporter: Just three days after being taken out of the brothel, don and the agape team welcome the girls to their new home, aim's long-running after-care program where rescued trauma victims are brought to heal. All children that you're seeing are survivors of sex trade. The new girls are given a hero's welcome, trading in the striped shirts and face masks they wore just days ago for teddy bear sweaters and tiaras. An aim ritual. Every rescued girl crowned a princess. Just as soka was ten years ago on her first day of freedom. Freedom that she says has meant everything to her. I want the world to know that that has happened. I want ending of the trafficking. You want to destroy this kind of sex traffic? Yes. And I want to help another girl. Reporter: On this trip, soka has confronted many of her personal demons. But there is one left. She's on her way to see the person who she says sold her to a pedophile when she was just 7 years old. Remember when soka first got off the plane? That person hugging her is soka's mom. The person who aim says sold her to an American pedophile 15 years ago. When you saw her for the first time in the airport, when you landed, to embrace her, to hug her. I think a lot of people wondering how could you do that? How angry were you? I get angry at her and I did cry about it and I did tell her that, please don't sell me. Reporter: Soka told us the airport was not the place to confront her mother. She wanted to do it here in the slums where she grew up. To demand an answer from her mother about what happened to her all those years ago. Did she ever apologize? No. She never apologized? Ready to go in? Uh-huh. Do I need to take shoes off? No, you're fine. Reporter: We step inside the tiny house where soka grew up. That's you in California? Yes. Reporter: Photos of her life in America litter the wall. This is a pretty emotional time for you? To see your daughter? Can you explain to me exactly what happened when she was just 7 years old and she left this house? She tells us she was extremely poor. So when a woman said a cafe needed a waitress and offered her $100 a month for her daughter, she jumped at the chance. She denies she knew the cafe was a front for a brothel. But all that came later. After what soka says was the most unforgivable thing her mother did, selling her virginity to a pedophile. Reporter: And then, for the first time, soka tells her mother about the awful moments she faced as a little girl. The beatings. Forced into sex with strangers. Any mothmoth but soka's mom seems stoic. Do you want forgiveness? Reporter: The moment goes by so quickly, I almost miss it. Did you just tell her that you will forgive her? Reporter: Those are real tears at last. It is hard to fathom that a mother could sell a daughter, that a daughter could ever forgive. But soka has nerves that defy all the cruelty, all the neglect. Perhaps it took the kindness of complete strangers and years of care to begin reversing the horrors of her youth. But somehow, after years of fear and darkness, she has forged a new life. When you were a little girl, did you feel you had any love? No. No one loved you? No. I feel like I'm the ugly one in the world. And now? Now I am a princess. Reporter: For "Nightline," I'm Bob woodruff in phnom penh, Cambodia. Dark reality. Our thanks to Bob woodruff for that stunning report.
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