Finalist Christian New Media Awards 2014 - Innovative Use of New Media In Outreach

Therapist Lynne travels to beat traffickers in Cambodia

In June, 51 year old Doncaster mum, grandma, ex RAF Registered nurse and midwife Lynne Barnett won’t be packing up her troubles - including a recent bout of Dengue fever - in her old kit bag, she’ll be helping some of the world’s most troubled children as she goes to Cambodia for a year.

Lynne, who has worked extensively as an outreach nurse in sexual health for under 16s and as a national trainer and therapist, has used her skills and degree in counseling to set up Sanctuary Therapy. Based in Doncaster, South Yorkshire, Lynne works with both children and adults on a variety of challenging issues such as trauma, low self esteem, abuse and anxiety.

Almost a decade ago, Lynne took those skills to the former “Killing Fields” of the Cambodian genocide, in order to work with children as young as 6 who have been abused, traumatized and trafficked into sexual slavery. Calling the support she offered ‘Sanctuary in Cambodia’, Lynne has previously taken weeks of holiday each year to serve some of the most vulnerable and destitute people on the planet, offering counselling, therapeutic group work, training and humanitarian support for those who are exploited and oppressed.

Lynne says, “This is no adult gap year or poverty tourism- I am a self employed counsellor taking a full year to help many more children, young people and families living in absolute poverty. My extensive background in health, counselling and training has enabled me to provide voluntary consultancy on ten previous occasions. Working with numerous projects since 2005 has enriched my life, as I have met many inspirational people- I love the Khmer.

In June I will return to Cambodia to work with sexually trafficked children and young people. These young individuals, who are sexually exploited and often imprisoned, need love and support to enable the healing process. I will be offering counselling, training local people in basic counselling skills and providing some theoretical knowledge of trauma issues. Currently there is no service available for those who have suffered atrocities, historical or recent. Generations are affected by the trauma of war. For this reason I will also facilitate group activities to enhance self esteem, confidence, health and relationships.”

Lynne continues, “Tourists see the beauty of the Cambodian landscape, but being there always activates a roller coaster of emotion in me. From the distress I feel when confronted by the lack of mental health care provision- individuals tethered by family under huts to keep them safe- to feeling totally inspired by the stoic attitude and resourcefulness of those living in absolute poverty. The injustice, oppression and poverty in this ‘forgotten’ country stunts progress and stifle potential. I am grateful beyond words to all the dozens of individuals who have supported me over the years, enabling me to go and serve- and to the lovely ladies of my local church who have knitted hundreds of teddies to give to children who have nothing else to call their own.”

To find out more about Lynne’s work, see her blog at
To book Lynne for talks on Cambodia or support this invaluable work, contact  
Lynne’s website has details of the work in Cambodia to make donations, monthly sponsorship or a corporate ‘nominated charity’

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