How I Escaped Human Traffickers at The Cambodian / Thai Border - Part 3
The moment I received the phone call
This is the third part of my story, if you have missed the other first two parts, you can check out the
first part here,
and the second part here.
The moment Fifi’s phone rings, she passes it over to me. “It’s for you!”
It’s Rhynn. “Tina, I don’t know how this man is. I only know my friend. And I don’t know what is going on there.”
I explained the situation, what happened, that I missed the bus because we went to have lunch together, and that they just gave me this massive hotel room, for free!
Rhynn continues: “Tina, if you can’t get out there tonight, I really urge you to get out there in the morning as early as possible!”
I agreed, the connection broke down. The situation started to feel weirder and weirder.
This is the Boss and Fifi.
Fifi and her boss leave the hotel room. I feel exhausted and tired.
I lock the door and fall asleep.
Around 6pm. Someone is knocking on my door.
It’s the boss. I open the door.
With little to no words he tries to explain that we are going for dinner now.
I am confused as Fifi is not with him. I refuse to go with him and keep asking for Fifi.
He keeps saying we are going to meet her at the casino. (At least I was hoping that he said that).
We make our way downstairs. The hotel facilities are surrounded by casinos. One after another.
We enter the first casino. The boss asks me if I wanted to eat and drink. I refused to order anything and kept asking about Fifi.
He orders me a drink. I think it was Whiskey or something.
The waiter served it. He looked confused. I didn’t touch it.
We were sitting down for about 3 minutes. The boss started to become nervous.
I kept asking for Fifi. We left to another casino opposite of the one we were at right now.
Same scenario. He doesn’t even ask me anymore, he just orders drinks, food and cigarettes for me.
He stared to gamble. He started to gamble at 10 different machines at the same time.
The food and drinks arrived. I felt bored. Again, I didn’t touch the drinks. I ate the food. Fried rice.
He was carrying three phones. Phone number one rings. He passes it over to me.
There is a lady on the other side, speaking German. The voice said following: “Hey Tina! This is my uncle.
You are in good hands, he just wants to show you around the casinos tonight.
He plays there a lot. So he gets all the food and hotel rooms for free. He is an old man who is just looking for some company.
Don’t worry, he is a nice man!”.
SUPER confused, not saying anything, I pass back the phone. He smiles, puts his phone in his pocket and keeps gambling, jumping from one machine to the other.
He can’t keep up with the speed of the machines anymore so he gets the staff of the casino involved and tells them to take over some of the machines.
One of his other phones rings. He passes it over to me. It’s again a female voice at the other end, saying exactly the same things as before, in German:
“Hey Tina, you are hanging out with my uncle. Don’t worry, he is a nice man…”
I pass over the phone, he puts it in his pocket. I let a few minutes pass by and tell him I am going to sleep.
His eyes changed instantly. Anger is coming up in his face. He grabs my wrist and pulls it towards him.
He said: “You are not going anywhere!”
All right, it finally clicked in my head! I pretend not to have noticed his anger, smiled at him, pulled back my arm and said in a very friendly way “Yes, yes! I am going to sleep and I will see you tomorrow. It’s been a long day for me!”
My heart is racing. I run across the casino, hoping that he doesn’t follow me.
I expect him to grab me from behind at any second. I am running in the wrong direction, there is no exit where I was going.
So I had to go back again.. Found the exit.
At this moment EVERYTHING started to make sense, everything started to click in my head.
Meeting of Rhyn in Bangkok... Was it all fake? Was she trying to build up a friendship, make me trust her, so she can eventually sell me to those people?
Was this entire game of ‘making me feel bad about refusing gifts and offers from Thai people part of the game?
Fifi told me she had a different job than my friend Rhyn told me… If they are friends, wouldn’t they know more about each other?
The moment when I entered the car and our eyes matched in the mirror. The weirdest invisible punch in my guts and I ignored it.
They made me have lunch with them in order to miss the last bus…
They waited at immigration for me to come back out to make sure I will stay at this hotel room…
Tired, exhausted, unexperienced, blind and trusting I considered their offer.
The hotel was a side building of the main hotel. Nobody was in there but me...
I noticed nobody has been at this reception for a few months when we walked past, but I didn’t want to listen to my guts...
The hotel room was located at THE TOP FLOOR of the hotel, there was no way for me to escape through the balcony, it was far to high and there were lots of bushes.
The phone call of my friend… How could I not realised in what kind of situation I’ve gotten myself into?
WTF am I going to do now? It’s midnight, I am in Poipet, in the dodgiest town you can find yourself EVER in. There are no tourists, no cafe is open, it’s dark.
I run back to my hotel room, locked the door from inside and started packing my bag.
I looked up the time when the sun would rise.
5 am. I am leaving at 5 am, no matter what.
I am sitting on my bed, waiting for the sun to come up. I keep falling asleep, forcing myself to stay awake.
It’s 1 am. Someone is knocking on my door. My heart is RACING, my body freezes.
I walk to the door and look through the peephole. It’s the boss. Obviously.
He is knocking on my door very quietly, he is calling my name.
Of course I am pretending I am sleeping.
I am scared to breath. I barely do. I need to stay as quiet as possible.
Fuck the luggage, all I need is trainers and my passport. Prepared to run I place myself right behind the door, wearing the trainers and holding my passport in two hands.
What am I gonna do?! WHAT am I gonna do!?!?
The boss keeps getting more and more impatient. His voice gets louder, the knocks on the door are getting harder and more aggressive.
This game goes on for ENTIRE 2 hours until 3 am! I am standing behind the door like a frozen statue.
All of a sudden it’s gone quite.
He stopped calling my name, he stopped knocking on my door.
What is going on?
I check through the peephole.
He is gone. Or maybe not? There are 2 options. Either he is hiding around the corner and waiting for me to come out, so he can get me then, or he has gone to reception to get another key card.
After all the room has been booked onto his name, so why shouldn’t they give him another one?
I have to act quickly, this is a matter of a few minutes. I decide to run. I run outside, it’s still dark, but fuck it. I took my backpack.
I run on the street. I am looking for a cafe to catch wifi and to let someone know what’s going on.
Everything is shut, I can’t get online anywhere. I am scared the boss is coming around the corner every second to get me.
There is a women cooking chicken at 4 am in the morning on the side of the street. I decide to sit right next to her.
I am realising more and more what has been happening over the last few weeks here.
Strangely, I take out my notebook and start writing it all down.
Motorbikes start passing by, the world is waking up. I am still alive.
It’s 4.30 am. The sun is not up just yet...The first motor taxi stops and asks me if I need a lift.
The second motor taxi stops and asks me: “Do you need a lift?”
Scared to hell that the boss is coming around every second to get me I jump on the bike. “Bring me to the bus station please!”
This was the craziest experience I have had in my life. This wasn’t good.
But if it would have only been the end of the story… I was ready for the end…
In the next post I will share with you what happened when there was this motorbike gang rocking up right next to me…
Tina ‘I wish I was more aware of my surroundings’ Dahmen
Talk to you tomorrow!
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