A railway line separates the slum from a high-security gated complex. The pair often crossed the tracks to scavenge among the refuse of their wealthy neighbours. So when a woman who had arrived in the slum several months earlier, and who always seemed to be a little bit better off than everyone else, showed up with a proposal, a desperate Sophea was willing to listen.
“The woman said she came together with a few others and did pickpocketing in markets,” Sophea says, looking down at the concrete floor of her house while nursing her youngest child. “I joined her to steal people’s wallets, but soon the police caught us and I was in jail, charged with petty theft.”