Khmer Cousins

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About us

The Khmer Cousins Project is a DNA testing project for the Cambodian Community worldwide.
The goal for the project is to find cousin connections through DNA testing to rebuild families.

This project will be divided into 3 groups;
1. Children Adopted from Cambodia. 
2. Khmer's living in the USA or Internationally. You were born in Cambodia or your parents were born in Cambodia.
3. Khmer's living in Cambodia who gave up children to adoption or who are looking for missing family members.

A new DNA test was developed in 2010 that can test male and female individuals and creates a DNA marker profile of over 900,000 markers for each person. As new tests are taken they are compared to existing profiles in the database for matches. The test can find relationships from sibling or parent out to fifth cousins or more.

A History Lesson
From 1975-1979 the Khmer Rouge controlled Cambodia and purposefully separated families as part of it's campaign of terror and genocide. An estimated 2 million Cambodians were killed or died in those 4 years. Still 40 years later those who lived through that time are still searching for lost loved ones. Those who did survive do not talk about their experience with their children, so in a lot of cases the younger generation does not know the names of their grandparents, aunts and uncles or other extended family members and feel a sense of unconnectedness to their own family history and family culture. This project is to provide hope that lost family members can be found through DNA testing.

Because of the Khmer Rouge, Cambodia's infrastructure was destroyed. It has taken 30 years to just build the country back to become self-sufficient economically. The country had been rated one of the poorest countries for personal income up until about 5 years ago. For many years, because of the extreme poverty, selling children was happening. Most children were sold into sexual slavery, but some were believed to have been sold to orphanages in the late 1990's and early 2000. Adoptions in Cambodia were stopped by the US State Department in 2001 because accusations of child selling to orphanages arose. An investigation was done, and though no Cambodians were charged, a couple of US citizens were charged with fraud and went to prison. There were 2300 children adopted to the US between 1990 and 2002 and none of the children in 2000 & 2001 were found to have been sold to the orphanages. Adoptions to the US have been closed since then, but the State Department and the Cambodian government have been working together for the past 3 years to open adoptions again. It could happen in 2014.

Cambodia now has very strict child trafficking laws to protect it's children.