Julia Smith-Brake has ten years’ experience in the counter-trafficking sector as a researcher, strategist, capacity builder, and board member. She holds an undergraduate degree in International Development Studies from McGill University and a Master of Science in Community Economic Development from Southern New Hampshire University. For the past four years she has worked for World Vision International in Design, Monitoring & Evaluation, Program Quality, and, more recently, as Senior Adolescent Programming Specialist. She is passionate about amplifying voices of young and marginalized people and collaborating to bridge research and practice.
Lim Vanntherary holds a double bachelor’s degree in Sociology and English Education in addition to a Master of Development Studies, all from the Royal University of Phnom Penh. She began working on the Butterfly Longitudinal Research in 2011 as part of Butterfly’s original research team, and spent over nine years conducting interviews, analyzing data, producing reports, and giving presentations. From 2015-2019, Vanntheary led the Research Project as Project Manager and Researcher. Now, she is a Project Assistant at International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
Nhanh Channtha was the Assistant Project Manager for Butterfly Research Project from 2014 to 2019. She conducted interviews, data analysis, disseminated findings, and co-authored numerous publications. She holds a Bachelor of Art in Sociology from the Royal University of Phnom Penh and a master’s degree in Holistic Child Development from MBTS, Malaysia. Currently, she is working with Mission Alliance Cambodia as program officer, mainly focused on child education and protection.
Filial piety has evolved and spread in different ways throughout Asia, with the common thread of deep respect and gratitude towards one’s parents remaining a very strong cultural value. In Khmer culture, filial piety includes the expectation that daughters and daughters-in-law provide daily assistance to parents and parents-in-law. Financial anxiety includes the worry and negative mental health outcomes associated with financial stressors. This article presents findings from the Butterfly Longitudinal Research Study on themes on filial piety and financial anxiety, combining survey results from across multiple years as well as a thematic analysis of themes from focus group discussions and interviews with 77 female study participants over five years in Cambodia. Findings explore the survivors’ feelings of responsibility towards their family and the financial and mental health burden of that responsibility; the cycles of debt experienced by survivors and their families; and the overall feelings of worry, guilt, and stress with respect to financial issues. The research concluded that survivors see filial piety as an expression of gratitude but suffer from financial anxiety as well as financial instability and indebtedness. A framework of financial capability is suggested, acknowledging the centrality of family and the need to embed social work and psychosocial support in any economic reintegration effort. Further analysis is recommended on economic shocks, vulnerable work, and experiences around savings.
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Smith-Brake, Julia M.; Vanntheary, Lim; and Channtha, Nhanh (2021) "“Why Am I the Only One Responsible for the Whole Family?”: Expressions of Economic Filial Piety and Financial Anxiety Among Female Survivors of Sex Trafficking in Cambodia," Dignity: A Journal of Analysis of Exploitation and Violence: Vol. 6: Iss. 4, Article 5. https://doi.org/10.23860/dignity.2021.06.04.05