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 Post subject: Cambodia and sex
PostPosted: Thu Aug 28, 2008 8:05 pm 
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Condom lubricant cures acne

A condom lubricant designed for sex workers and gay men has become a popular acne cure among female Cambodians, women in the capital have said.

28 Aug 2008

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A Cambodian worker holds a Number One Plus condom packet in Phnom Penh Photo: AFP / GETTY

Number One Plus, a water-based lubricant produced by health organisation Population Services International (PSI), is an excellent cure for acne, 29-year-old vendor Tep Kemyoeurn told news agencies. "After I used it for three days, all of my acne dried up and went away," she said. "Many people believe in it," she added.

Khen Vanny, 29, from Phnom Penh, said women of all ages have taken to using the lubricant to get rid of spots. "It is very effective. Some people don't believe in it but people who do really get a good result," she said, adding: "My youngest sister and my aunt use it too."

Another woman told Khmer-language Kampuchea Thmey newspaper that she had used many kinds of medicine to treat acne but none had worked. "After that my friends, who work at garment factories in Phnom Penh, advised me to apply the lubricant from Number One Plus condoms on my face every night," she told the paper. And just within three to four nights, the acne on my face gradually and then totally disappeared," she added.

A vendor near a factory in the coastal city of Sihanoukville told the newspaper that she sold packets of Number One Plus lubricant for 500 riels (12 cents) to many women every day.

The paper urged experts to conduct research about the phenomenon. PSI were not immediately available for comment on the apparent cosmetic benefits of their product.

Source: Telegraph UK.

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 Post subject: Re: Cambodia and sex
PostPosted: Thu Aug 28, 2008 8:12 pm 
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Sex workers want Cambodian legislation changed
Tuesday June 24
Australian Associated Press

Sex workers have delivered a letter to the Cambodian embassy in Canberra calling for changes to anti-trafficking and sex work laws.

The Scarlet Alliance, representing Australia's sex workers, and the Asia Pacific Network of Sex Workers, say a recent law change in Cambodia equates all sex work with trafficking.

That had led to closures of brothels and widespread human rights abuses against sex workers, they said.

The new laws had simply moved sex work underground, in an unsafe, unregulated environment, alliance president Elena Jeffreys told AAP.

"Hundreds of sex workers have also been arrested, detained, and have faced violence and sexual assault in detention. Sex workers who are HIV positive have been unable to access their medication, which is placing their lives at risk."

Cambodian sex workers pray for divine intervention
Fri, 25 July 2008

Phnom Penh (dpa) — Cambodian sex workers prayed for divine intervention at the ancient temple of Angkor Wat to draw attention to their objections to new laws they said equate sex work with trafficking, local media reported Friday. The English-language Mekong Times daily pictured a group of more than 20 sex workers brandishing Barbie dolls and lotuses in prayer at the temple in Siem Reap province, more than 300 kilometres north-west of Phnom Penh.

The group chose Angkor, the largest religious monument in the world, "because we want the spirit of our ancestors ... to make our leaders and local and foreign tourists listen to our voices," the paper quoted Soo Sitheavy, one of the organizers, as saying.

Thousands of sex workers have been rounded up by authorities since a revised anti-trafficking act that made soliciting sex illegal went into effect earlier this year.

Cambodians consider Angkor Wat the birthplace of their civilization, and it is also featured on the national flag.

Source: Earth Times / dpa

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 Post subject: Re: Cambodia and sex
PostPosted: Fri Aug 29, 2008 7:32 am 
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Cambodia charges Buddhist monk with rape, murder
August 29, 2008

PHNOM PENH (AP) - (Kyodo) — A Buddhist monk has been charged with raping and killing a 10-year-old girl in Cambodia's central Kampong Thom Province, a court official said Friday.

Pen Sarath, deputy prosecutor at Kompong Thom Provincial Court, told Kyodo News the 27-year-old monk was charged with rape and murder in connection with the death of 10-year-old Chuon Srey Aun.

He said the monk, Aun Kim Leang, had confessed to police.

The girl, accompanied by her grandmother, had gone to the pagoda where the charged man was living to offer food to the monks, Khun Bunhour, a district military police chief in the province, said.

Source: Breitbart Kyodo-AP

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 Post subject: Re: Cambodia and sex
PostPosted: Mon Sep 01, 2008 5:24 am 
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Khmer Rouge transgendered survivor seeks justice in war crimes trial
August 29, 2008



PHNOM PENH (AFP) — A transgendered female survivor of the Khmer Rouge will lodge a complaint to the UN-backed war crimes court seeking the regime's former leaders stand trial for sexual violence.

"This is the first complaint before the (Khmer Rouge court) concerning sexual violence under the Khmer Rouge regime," said a statement on Friday by Silke Stuzinsky, a lawyer representing civil complaints by victims of the regime. "To date, a widespread silence and/or confusion has covered up crimes of sexual violence," the statement said.

The complaint, to be filed next week, will seek to hold senior leaders responsible for numerous rapes the woman — who had undergone a full sex change from being a man — suffered as well as her several imprisonments in re-education camps and prisons.

"She was punished for having committed moral offences and for behaving as a woman. She was forced to cut her long hair and to wear men's clothing (as was the custom under the Khmer Rouge)," Stuzinsky's statement said. "She was threatened with death if she refused to marry a woman, and the Khmer Rouge ordered the performance of sexual intercourse as part of the marital obligation," the statement added.

Five former regime leaders have been detained by the tribunal, which was convened in 2006 after nearly a decade of haggling between the United Nations and the Cambodian government. Up to two million people died of starvation and overwork, or were executed, as the communist Khmer Rouge dismantled modern Cambodian society in a bid to forge an agrarian utopia during their 1975-79 rule.

Public trials are expected to begin this year, but delays in the process have raised fears that the elderly defendants could die before going to court.

Source: Yahoo! AFP.

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 Post subject: Re: Cambodia and sex
PostPosted: Wed Oct 08, 2008 1:22 pm 
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Ex-sex slave crusades against forced prostitution
September 28, 2008
By Gary Crosse

NEW YORK (Reuters) — Abandoned as a child in Cambodia during the Khmer Rouge's murderous reign, Somaly Mam has no memory of her family and doesn't know her true age or name. But she recalls when she was sold to a brothel.

She traces a dramatic and haunting journey from sex slave to crusader against forced prostitution in her newly released memoir, "The Road of Lost Innocence," which reads like a Dickensian tale of triumph over adversity.

Remarkably, she does not see her path from a remote mountain region of Cambodia to an international campaigner as awe-inspiring. "I never feel that way, I'm still Somaly. I used to work in the fields and now I help victims," she told Reuters in an interview.

Born in the early 1970s, she fleetingly recalls the Khmer Rouge's rule, when an estimated 1.7 million people were executed or died of torture, starvation or disease during a disastrous four-year agrarian revolution in the late 1970s. Set adrift, she was taken in by an elderly man whom she called "grandfather," an honorific title that belied his cruel character. When she was about 16 years old, he sold her to a brothel to pay off his debts.

FIRST HOT SHOWER

Held captive for years, she watched in horror as the brothel owner one day shot a girl in the head for insolence — one of many acts of violence in Cambodia's notorious sex trade where poor families sometimes sell a daughter to pay debts. Laws to prevent abuse against women are poorly enforced.

With the help of a Swiss patron employed by a nongovernmental organization, Mam paid the brothel owner $100 to let her go, one of the few ways women can leave safely. At his hotel, she experienced her first hot shower. "He ... turned on a shiny thing, like a snake, and it flashed to life, spitting at me ... That was the first time I ever used proper soap, and I remember how good it smelled, like a flower," she writes.

Mam eventually married and lived in France for a time before returning to Cambodia determined to help "the girls" in whatever way she could. She started by distributing condoms and soap — both of which were rarely available in Cambodia's brothels. Shunned in their home villages, Mam and others formed a shelter for women and girls, the Agir pour les Femmes En Situation Precaire — Acting for Women in Distressing Situations (AFESIP).

The largely Spanish-funded grass-roots group expanded to neighboring Thailand and Laos, providing counseling, shelter and education on AIDS prevention. Its members also speak to men on the perils facing girls in the sex trade.

'WOMEN ARE NOT TOYS'

Future Group, a nongovernmental organization that combats human trafficking, estimates the number of prostitutes and sex slaves in Cambodia at up to 50,000, with at least 1 in 40 girls born in Cambodia expected to be sold into sex slavery.

Today, Mam travels the world raising money for the Somaly Mam Foundation to draw attention to forced prostitution, estimating that 2 million to 4 million women and children will be sold into the global sex trade in the next 12 months. Legalization of prostitution is not the answer, she said, at least not in Cambodia. "Women are not toys," she said. "All of us, we need equality. If you want to live with dignity, it is without prostitution, without this violence."

Fighting to close notorious brothels made her enemies in Cambodia. Shelters run by her group have come under armed attack and women have been abducted. In 2006, Mam's teen-age daughter was kidnapped. She was eventually rescued, but Mam still faces threats in her battle against underworld figures who control the trade. Undaunted, she says the work is too important to walk away from.

"You know, these victims and me — we have the same heart, the same body, the same pain," she said. "It's not just Cambodia. If I can help around the world, I'll do it."

(Editing by Jason Szep and Xavier Briand)
Source: Reuters.

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 Post subject: Re: Cambodia and sex
PostPosted: Thu Jan 01, 2009 4:04 pm 
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Cambodia faces problems enforcing new sex trafficking law
26 December 2008

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Prostitutes wait for business outside a bottom-end brothel in Phnom Penh.

Chantha said there was nothing else she could do in Cambodia but become a prostitute.

"If you don't even have a dollar in your pocket to buy rice, how can you bear looking at your starving relatives?" she said. "You do whatever to survive, until you start to realize the consequence of your deeds."

Chanta, in her early twenties, was working in a small red-light district west of the capital Phnom Penh several months ago when she was arrested under Cambodia's new sex-trafficking law. Police nabbed her in a raid and charged her with publicly soliciting sex, fining her nearly two dollars. Then, Chanta claims, the arresting officers gang raped and beat her for six days in detention. Bruises covered her body, but none of her assailants were brought to court, she said.

The Cambodian government began prosecuting a new "Law on Suppression of Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation" in February after years of pressure from the United States to clamp down on sex trafficking. Since then, authorities have conducted brothel raids and street sweeps, but rights groups complain the new law has in many ways worsened the exploitation of women.

"The law allows police of all levels to arrest and punish sex workers," said Naly Pilorge, director of local human rights group Licadho. "The sex workers are arrested to police stations and rehabilitation centres and then they are abused."

More than 500 women were arrested for soliciting sex in the first nine months of 2008, according to anti-trafficking organisation Afesip, with many of them forced into rehabilitation centres. Rights groups say the new law makes women easier prey for traffickers, and could increase rates of sexually-transmitted infections as prostitutes stop carrying condoms out of fear they will be used as evidence against them.

They also allege that detainees are regularly abused at the two rehabilitation centres controlled by Cambodia's ministry of social affairs, Prey Speu and Koh Kor. Koh Kor has the added grim reputation of being on an island which was the site of a prison and execution camp under Cambodia's murderous 1975-79 Khmer Rouge regime.

Despite Chanta and others testifying to instances of rape, beatings and extortion at the hands of police in the rehabilitation centres, authorities have repeatedly denied the abuses. Major General Bith Kimhong, director of the interior ministry's anti-trafficking department, said he does not believe anyone has been abused under the new law because he has received no complaints from victims.

More than 100 people were arrested this year, as human trafficking prosecutions increased by 50 percent, Bith Kimhong said. The raids on brothels and streetwalkers proved a commitment by the government to end sex trafficking, he said, vowing they would continue. "We'll continue to cooperate with local authorities to enforce the law," Bith Kimhong said.

The new law is one of several moves by the Cambodian government over the past year to show that it is cracking down on sexual exploitation. In March it imposed ban on foreign marriages amid concerns of an explosion in the number of brokered unions involving South Korean men and poor Cambodian women, many of whom were allegedly being set up for sex slavery. There have also been a string of arrests of alleged foreign paedophiles, as Cambodia seeks to demonstrate sex tourists are not welcome.

Pich Socheata, deputy governor of one Phnom Penh district, leads "clean-ups" of prostitution on the streets but said she empathizes with sex workers. "They are female and I am too, so I do understand no girls want to do that job. But we are only practising law," she said.

But Keo Tha, a staff member at sex workers' rights group the Women's Network for Unity, says many more Cambodian women are still being forced into prostitution as jobs dry up amid the global financial crisis. A more sensible law, she said, would legalise prostitution. "We are sandwiched right now -- we are oppressed by the police, the law and rising living costs," she said.

Source: Breitbart AFP.

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 Post subject: Re: Cambodia and sex
PostPosted: Sat May 23, 2009 3:08 pm 
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CAMBODIA: Focus on MSM and the spread of HIV/AIDS

PHNOM PENH, 3 January 2007 (IRIN) — As dusk falls along the banks of the Tonle Sap River, opposite the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh, the Cambodian capital, Noun, 35, a married engineer, stops at his favourite vantage point on his route home each evening, a popular cruising site for Cambodian gays, where last month alone he met seven different partners.

Noun's world is a complex one, riddled with deception and hypocrisy in this otherwise conservative Khmer society. "I'm not gay," he said. "I just like having sex with men."

Such an assertion is not unusual in many South East Asian nations, including Cambodia. In less than an hour's time he will return to his wife and two children about a kilometre away — none of whom are any the wiser about his activities.

Men who have sex with men (MSM) could well prove a pivotal part of Cambodia's bid to mitigate the spread of HIV/AIDS. "This is the hidden MSM population, who not only have sex with men, but also have sex with female partners," Tony Lisle, Country Coordinator for the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) in Cambodia, told IRIN.

Penetrating Noun's world, and others like it, could be the most difficult challenge, but failing to do so could accelerate the spread of the pandemic among the country's 14.5 million people.

CURRENT PREVALENCE RATES

Cambodia has the highest HIV/AIDS prevalence in South East Asia, but has also made significant inroads against the disease since it first appeared in 1991. According to UNAIDS, the estimated level of infection among adults has dropped from a high of 3 percent in 1997 to 1.6 percent in 2006, which can be partly attributed to increasing HIV mortality as those infected during the period of peak HIV incidence move into AIDS.

Current surveillance data also suggest that the epidemic, largely driven by the continued patronage of commercial sex workers by Cambodian men, is changing: behavioural data now show consistently higher rates of condom usage in the sex industry, largely the result of enhanced public information campaigns and an assertive effort to promote 100 percent condom usage.

HIV incidence among sex workers and their clients appears to have been dramatically reduced, as corroborated by a reduction in the prevalence of other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) among them, but sexual networking continues to shift towards casual sex, making MSM as a risk group all the more important.

MSM PREVALENCE RATES

Prevalence in the general population has also declined in recent years, but health workers warn there is little room for complacency. According to the latest survey by the Cambodian National Centre for HIV/AIDS Dermatology and STDs (sexually transmitted diseases), the HIV prevalence rate among MSM in Phnom Penh is 8.7 percent, and their networking behaviour has become a serious source of concern.

Of the 58 percent of men surveyed in three provinces — Phnom Penh, in the south, and Batdambang and Siem Riep in the northwest — who reported having sex with female partners in the past year, almost 25 percent also reported having sex with female sex workers, with 16.6 percent having had sex with casual female partners in the past month.

"When you have a very dense network, and when you have crossovers in the network between males and females, in the presence of high risk of STIs and in the presence of very low condom usage, then you have a potential for an explosive epidemic," Lisle warned.

"You're looking at multipartner behaviour," the UNAIDS official said, pointing out that not only were the men putting themselves at risk, but also the women they slept with.

MSM - A GLOBAL PHENENOMENON

Male-to-male sex is found in every culture and society, and is often defined as a social and behavioural phenomenon rather than a specific group of people. Although the description may include men who identify themselves as being homosexual or gay, bisexual or transgender, it can also include men who identify themselves as exclusively heterosexual and are often married, particularly where discriminatory laws or social stigma exist.

The manner in which Cambodian MSM define themselves blurs this distinction even more: according to a 2004 study of 1,306 MSM by Family Health International (FHI), 'Men Who Have Sex with Men in Phnom Penh, Cambodia: Population Size and Sex Trade', there are four times more of what are described locally as 'short-haired MSM' (masculine-acting MSM who have sex with each other) than 'long-haired MSM' (transgender MSM whose masculine sexual partners identify themselves as being from either group).

Relations between the two groups are not always cordial. Short-haired MSM enjoy a degree of privacy by being less visible than long-haired MSM, who tend to be more conspicuous, have a great deal of difficulty in securing employment and are often thrown out of their homes.

A recent report on 'MSM and HIV/AIDS Risk in Asia', by Therapeutics Research Education AIDS Training Asia (TREAT Asia), found that short-haired MSM were more likely to receive money for sex (20 percent regularly and 41 percent occasionally).

RISK AND AWARENESS

In terms of HIV risk, male-to-male intercourse is significant in that it can involve anal sex, which, when unprotected, carries a risk 10 times greater than unprotected vaginal intercourse does for the receptive partner. At least 5 percent to 10 percent of HIV infections worldwide are estimated to occur via MSM but, according to UNAIDS, this figure varies considerably between countries and regions.

Image
Sou Sothevy, 67, began working as a transgender sex worker when she was 14, even selling sex during the Pol Pot regime. Today she is one of Cambodia's leading advocates on issues of HIV.
Credit: David Swanson/IRIN

Many Cambodian men are unaware of these obvious risks. "It can be very difficult to reach MSM," Lisle said, particularly those who might be classified as short-haired MSM and therefore do not necessarily identify themselves as homosexual.

A government report, 'Turning the Tide — Cambodia's Response to HIV/AIDS 1991-2005', identified the need to promote better understanding of risks and behaviour change, encourage consistent condom use among MSM, and to consider them not only a high-risk target group, but to involve them in the planning and implementation of prevention interventions.

A study of sexual behaviours, STIs and HIV among MSM in Phnom Penh, undertaken by FHI in 2000, documented an alarming HIV prevalence rate of 14.4 percent — approximately equivalent to the rate among informal sex workers at the time — aggravated by drug use among 24 percent of the sample population.

Although the government has begun to acknowledge MSM in its intervention efforts, the researchers found that NGOs and community-based organisations had only recently started implementing programmes to reach this group.

ACCESS TO HEALTH CARE

Men's Health Cambodia (MHC) in Phnom Penh, established in 2002 and funded by FHI, was the first NGO dedicated to addressing the health needs of short-haired MSM in its drop-in centre and outreach programme.

According to UNAIDS, fewer than one in 20 MSM have access to the HIV prevention and care services they need — a figure largely in line with global indicators.

Of the 30 men visiting the MHC centre weekly, most are concerned about STIs and HIV testing, while others seek counselling to deal with their sexual identity in a country that frowns on homosexuality.

After successful awareness interventions, condom usage overall appears to be increasing, but the Executive Director of MHC, Mao Kimrun, 32, said much more needed to be done. "Not everyone understands the risks - there are still misconceptions that MSM are not at risk," he asserted. "Condom usage is still not widespread, and many men cannot afford them."

MHC runs a daily outreach programme in parks and other locations that MSM might frequent. "They usually ask me about HIV/AIDS or STIs, and they want to know about safe sex practices," Thavro Dum, an MHC outreach member, told IRIN/PlusNews as he readied his motorcycle to make his evening rounds.

He said MSM were often aware of HIV transmission and prevention, but did not always know how to apply this knowledge to their own behaviour to avoid risking infection.

As confirmed by the TREAT Asia report, condoms are imported and expensive, which limits access, except when offered in social marketing programmes; secrecy exacerbated the situation — some MSM even based their HIV-risk assessment on whether a potential partner appeared to have good personal hygiene or not; male sex workers were often unable to negotiate condom use and generally did not use lubricant, because clients "would know for sure that they are non-female".

"I'm afraid of HIV/AIDS," said Eam Vanndy, 27, a male sex worker who arrived in the capital three years ago in search of a job. He told IRIN/PlusNews his customers paid between $5 and $10, and he always used a condom. "Many of my friends are pretty boys [long-haired MSM]. Some use condoms; many do not."

Such stories are not unusual in a country where poverty is rife and drives a growing number of people to work in the sex trade.

Sou Sothevy, 67, who has been a transgender sex worker since she was 14 and still works occasionally, commented, "Although MSM are aware of the risks, they don't always use condoms with their partners. Some male sex workers forego the usage of the condom for more money."

She spends most of her time as a local team leader in a network of some 5,000 sex workers — the Women's Network for Unity — and also serves on the national steering committee as an elected representative. Sothevy, who has been living with HIV for over 10 years, believes most people have some awareness of the risk factors, but remain careless. "Many use drugs, including heroin," she said.

"Cambodia is a very conservative country and there is discrimination towards MSM, not just from the family, but society as a whole," she pointed out. As a team leader, she monitors members' needs and keeps an eye out for new sex workers in her local area. Nationally, the network advocates for access to medicines and undertakes research for NGOs, United Nations agencies and the government by sex workers and the HIV-positive community.

Changing people's perceptions would not be easy said Sear Young Tan, 39, of the recently established National MSM Network, which aims to eliminate stigma and discrimination against MSM, and promote equal access to HIV- and MSM-related information and services. "Discrimination against MSM is very much part of Cambodian life, both in the family and society at large," the clothes-maker and makeup artist noted.

"This makes the fight against HIV/AIDS all the more difficult," he said, reiterating the fact that many MSM do not think of themselves as MSM — even when they have sex with men. "It's just for pleasure and means nothing."

But with many short-haired MSM engaging in more sexual encounters than long-haired MSM — some having up to five different partners a week — he said, getting the message out to this group should be an integral part of the country's intervention efforts.

Most Cambodians are unaware of how many masculine-acting — and often married — men are sexually active with other men, heightening the risk of spreading the virus among the general population.

One MSM focus group participant in rural Cambodia cited in the TREAT Asia report remarked: "I had a lot of friends, but my friends who have sex with the same gender ... are all dead. Now it is only me here."

Source: IRIN News.

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 Post subject: Re: Cambodia and sex
PostPosted: Tue Aug 11, 2009 7:58 pm 
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Former sex slave seeks help as 4-year-old found in brothel
3 August 2009
By Belinda Goldsmith

Image
Somaly Mam

CANBERRA (Reuters Life!) — A former sex slave on Monday launched a global campaign against trafficking, saying the age of girls forced into prostitution keeps getting younger.

Cambodian Somaly Mam, whose eponymous foundation is dedicated to fighting the $12 billion a year sex-trafficking industry, said a four-year-old girl was found last month at a brothel in Cambodia after being reported by a male client. The youngster had been sold to the brothel by her mother, who is also a prostitute.

She is now being cared for at one of the seven shelters run by the Somaly Mam Foundation in Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam set up to protect and rehabilitate girls rescued from sex slavery. The group also has an office in Thailand dealing with repatriation.

"You just have to hold her and stay with her and show her that you love her. Children can become children again," Mam told Reuters as she launched a joint venture with cosmetics retailer The Body Shop to raise awareness of sex trafficking. "There is this belief that having sex with a virgin will cure you of HIV so there is an increasing market for younger and younger girls. In my time it was girls aged 15 or 16 but it has got younger and younger."

The United Nations estimates that two million women and children are trafficked every year, with 30 percent of these in Asia. Poor families sometimes sell a daughter to pay off debts.

PERSONAL TRAGEDY

Mam personally knows the horror of a life of slavery having been sold to a brothel at the age of 16 by an abusive elderly man whom she called "grandfather." She was sold to pay off his debts. She managed to escape the brothel with the help of a Swiss patron who paid off the owner and has since campaigned tirelessly against forced prostitution, setting up the Somaly Mam Foundation in 2007 to rescue and rehabilitate girls. She was recently named one of Time Magazine's "100 Most Influential People."

Mam, who wrote about her journey from sex slave to crusader against prostitution in her memoir "The Road of Lost Innocence," has faced threats from pimps and organized crime syndicates over the years while her shelters have come under armed attack. In 2006, Mam's teenage daughter was kidnapped. She was eventually rescued, but Mam still refuses to leave her work.

"All my family is safe now. We have bodyguards for my children," said Mam who refuses to give details about where her family lives. She said global awareness about sexual slavery was extremely low and she hoped that joining forces with The Body Shop in a campaign spanning 60 nations would raise the issue's profile. She also hoped this would lead to an increase in funds available to set up shelters were former sex workers could be trained in other industries such as sewing, weaving and even micro-finance so that they could set up their own businesses.

Over the next three years The Body Shop will campaign for governments to implement strict anti-trafficking policies and legislation, and to dedicate more resources to this cause.

"I need everyone to help our work, to open everyone's eyes to what is going on with trafficking children and what is going on in Cambodia, Asia and around the world," said Mam. "It is not easy to get funding ... and the more people get involved the more we can stop trafficking."

Source: Reuters.

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 Post subject: Re: Cambodia and sex
PostPosted: Mon Feb 15, 2010 5:59 pm 
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Phnom Penh, Cambodia: Transsexual prostitutes wait on a street
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 Post subject: Re: Cambodia and sex
PostPosted: Fri Aug 13, 2010 5:03 pm 
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Cambodian police abuse sex workers
By Prak Chan Thul
July 20, 2010

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Cambodian sex workers wait for customers at a public park in Phnom Penh July 20, 2010.
Reuters/Chor Sokunthea

PHNOM PENH (Reuters) — Cambodian police and social workers have beat, extorted and raped sex workers after taking them into their custody, Human Rights Watch said on Tuesday, adding foreign governments could do more to stop such abuse.

"From beginning to end, those people who should really be protecting sex workers from violence and other abuses are in fact the ones who are harming them," Elaine Pearson, acting director of Asia Human Rights Watch, told a news conference.

Quoting victims, the rights group said in a report that police often abused sex workers arrested during regular sweeps of the streets and parks in the capital, Phnom Penh, following the enactment of an anti-human-trafficking law in 2008. It called on the government to close down certain detention centers where drug users, beggars, street children, homeless people and sex workers had all been illegally detained.

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Elaine Pearson, acting director of Asia Human Rights Watch, shows a report during a news conference in Phnom Penh in this July 20, 2010 file photo.
REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea

And it urged foreign donors to review funding to the police and Social Affairs Ministry. "Donors should not spend their money on abusive officials but instead take steps that will promote accountability from the Cambodian government," Pearson said. Cambodian police spokesman Kirth Chantharith told Reuters he had not read the report and could not comment.

Lim El Djurado, a Social Affairs Ministry spokesman, said the allegations against his ministry were false, adding government centers did not house sex workers and officials did not abuse them. "There are no sex workers at our centers. The centers are for the homeless," Lim El Djurado said, adding that prostitutes had in fact been sent to non-governmental organizations for vocational training after police round-ups.

(Reporting by Prak Chan Thul; Editing by Alan Raybould)
Source: Reuters.

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 Post subject: Re: Cambodia and sex
PostPosted: Sun Aug 29, 2010 3:07 pm 
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Cambodian monk quizzed after filming naked women
29 June 2010

Phnom Penh (dpa) — A Cambodian court has questioned a defrocked monk accused of filming women who were bathing naked in sacred water at a Buddhist temple, national media reported Tuesday.

Net Khai, 37, was dismissed from the pagoda in Phnom Penh on Saturday after accusations he secretly videoed a dozen women pouring holy water over themselves in a pagoda bathroom, said municipal police chief Touch Naruth. "This monk's act of filming naked women seriously affects our Cambodian society and Cambodian women's dignity," Touch Naruth told the Cambodia Daily newspaper.

Four women have filed complaints against the former monk, including one who claimed Net Khai had filmed her using his mobile phone and then shared the clip with others. A court official said Net Khai would likely face charges related to the production and distribution of pornography, which carries a maximum sentence of one year and a 480-dollar-fine.

The head of the country's Mohanikaya Budhhist sect condemned the former monk's actions, but said it ought not to reflect on other monks. "It is not connected to our monks' discipline at all, and now Net Khai is defrocked so the law can sentence him," said Supreme Patriarch Non Nget. "Yet we are sorry that this man was formerly a monk and did something repulsive to Cambodian society."

Non Nget said he could not understand why the women were naked at the pagoda in the first place, and said such practices should not reoccur.

Source: Earth Times / dpa.

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 Post subject: Re: Cambodia and sex
PostPosted: Mon Nov 15, 2010 8:07 pm 
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Cambodian monks barred from 'sexy' water festival
Wednesday, 10 November 2010

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Cambodia's Boat Racing Festival

Buddhist monks in Cambodia will be banned from taking part in a water festival this month to prevent undignified behaviour such as mingling with scantily-clad women and seeing couples kissing, the country's chief monk said today.

During the Boat Racing Festival between November 20 and 22, monks will be required to stay in their pagodas and watch the event on TV, said 85-year-old chief patriarch Non Gneth.

"For a monk to walk freely with crowds of ordinary people during the water festival violates the rules of the Lord Buddha," the patriarch said. "If the monks walk freely, they will see women wearing sexy clothes or see people kissing. This violates their discipline," he said. He added some younger monks carried mobile phones equipped with cameras at last year's festival and took pictures of people dancing, drinking alcohol and kissing - all of which are not allowed, including the possession of mobile phones.

Monks are supposed to adhere to a code of Buddhist precepts that include celibacy and not touching or being alone with women, not drinking alcohol and leading a contemplative lifestyle without material possessions. A committee has been created to curb bad behaviour among monks and if any are seen mingling at the festival they will be reprimanded and sent for a re-education class before being returned to their temples, Non Gneth said.

It is estimated upward of two million people could descend on the capital, Phnom Penh, for the annual boat festival, also known as the water festival, which takes place at the end of the rainy season along the Tonle Sap River. Some 400 wooden boats will compete in rowing contests that are part of a carnival-like atmosphere that also includes evening concerts, fireworks and late-night partying.

About 85% of Cambodia's 14 million people are Buddhist. The country has 4,000 Buddhist temples and more than 50,000 monks.

Source: The Independent UK.

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 Post subject: Re: Cambodia and sex
PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2010 6:59 pm 
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Current affairs set to rise as sex workers flock to Water Festival
19 November 2010

Phnom Penh (dpa) — Thousands of sex workers are expected to arrive in Phnom Penh this weekend to cash in on the country's most popular festival, local media reported Friday.

Keo Tha, coordinator of the Women's Network for Unity, a collective that advocates rights and sexual health for sex workers, said she expected 5,000 prostitutes would come for the Water Festival.

Phnom Penh is bracing itself for an influx of up to 3 million people, which will more than double the capital's population during the three-day festival. "It is a good chance for us as sex workers because there will be so many clients needing sex services," she told the Phnom Penh Post newspaper. "A sex worker can accept more than 20 clients a day, and they can make 100 dollars a day during the Water Festival," she said, around five times their usual daily earnings.

Keo Tha said the collective met last week with sex workers to encourage them to practise safe sex and to avoid the attention of the police.

The head of Phnom Penh police's serious crimes department, Chuon Narin, said prostitution would not be tolerated. "Even if there are just four or five sex workers, we will arrest them and send them to the social affairs department for education," he said.

AIDS activists are to distribute 500,000 condoms during the festival, which is due to see around 400 longboats, paddled by up to 50 people each, compete on a short stretch of the river in Phnom Penh. The participants come from around the country to take part in the annual festival, which celebrates a 12th century naval victory.

Source: Earth Times / dpa.

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 Post subject: Re: Cambodia and sex
PostPosted: Fri Jan 07, 2011 5:30 am 
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Groundbreaking report looks at LGBT Cambodians
23 December 2010

The Cambodian Center for Human Rights released a groundbreaking report Dec. 9 titled "Coming Out in the Kingdom: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender People in Cambodia."

It says that LGBT Cambodians face unique challenges, including ostracism from their families and communities that often leads to economic hardship as well as discrimination by employers and authorities. The report argues that the concept of homosexuality as understood in "the West" may not directly transfer to Cambodia.

"The Cambodian understanding of sexuality is derived from concepts of gender, character and personality," it says. "The focus on these character traits and outwardly visible characteristics instead of sexual orientation means that many Cambodians who are homosexual do not identify themselves as such."



Buddhism, the report says, generally tolerates homosexuality. "Homosexuality, whilst seen as an oddity, does not attract the kind of aggressive reaction as can be seen in Christian or Muslim cultures," it states. "Buddhism itself places no value on marriage or procreation. Marriage and procreation are considered positive if they bring about love and respect, but may be deemed negative if pain or strife is caused. However, in Cambodia, cultural, social and economic pressures override Buddhist teachings on marriage -- family values are incredibly important and pressure is strong for sons and daughters to marry and have children."

"Sexual behavior amongst male youths may be seen as harmless experimentation, since women are expected to remain 'pure' until marriage," the report continues. "Youthful indiscretions may be forgotten or may continue unnoticed. However, eventually men are expected to marry and father children. Given traditional gender roles, women have less ability to pursue same-sex relationships than homosexual males, either privately or publicly."

"The risk of ostracism from a close family network and economic difficulties posed by living outside the family network may mean that LGBT persons do not live the lives they wish to or have to conduct homosexual relationships in secret," the researchers conclude.

Nonetheless, an LGBT community is emerging in the nation. A pride celebration, which includes workshops, movies, art exhibits and social gatherings, launched in 2003. Four hundred people attended the culmination of the events in 2009. Pride organizers have formed an organization called RoCK to support LGBT people and raise awareness among non-gay Cambodians. A gay "scene" has developed in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap.

And "the Internet has allowed gay Cambodian people to connect to other gay people, thus raising awareness of a wider, global LGBT community and the possibilities of participating in this," the report said. The research, funded by the Swedish Association for Sexual Education, can be downloaded in English and Khmer at http://www.cchrcambodia.org.

Source: PrideSource.

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 Post subject: Re: Cambodia and sex
PostPosted: Tue Jun 19, 2012 3:42 pm 
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Controversial activist fights SEAsian sex trade
22 May 2012

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Cambodian activist Somaly Mam at a regional workshop on human trafficking held in Hanoi in February.

AFP - Sold into a brothel as a child, Cambodian activist Somaly Mam has become one of the most recognisable, glamorous and controversial faces of the global anti-sex slavery movement.

The quirky, energetic campaigner boasts a string of celebrity supporters and has been named a CNN hero of the year, but she is as divisive among anti-trafficking activists as she is beloved by the international press. Most recently, Mam kicked up a storm of controversy when she allowed her "old friend," New York Times correspondent Nicholas Kristof, to "live-tweet" a brothel raid in the northern Cambodian town of Anlong Veng in November.

"Girls are rescued, but still very scared. Youngest looks about 13, trafficked from Vietnam," Kristof wrote to his more than one million followers on the Twitter microblogging website, in remarks that trafficking experts say raised questions of safety and consent. For Mam, who created the anti-trafficking organisation AFESIP and now runs an eponymous foundation, the benefit of the attention Kristof brings to trafficking issues outweighs the security concerns. "Even if you're not tweeting it is also dangerous... but if (Kristof) tweets it, it's better because more people get awareness and understanding," Mam told AFP in an interview during a visit to Vietnam.

Tania DoCarmo of Chab Dai, an anti-trafficking group working in Cambodia, said the raid coverage was an "unethical" PR stunt which broke Cambodian anti-trafficking laws and which "sensationalises" a very complex issue. "Doing 'impromptu' coverage of children in highly traumatising situations would not be considered ethical or acceptable in the West...it is inappropriate and even voyeuristic to do this in developing nations such as Cambodia. This is especially true with children and youth who are unable to provide legal consent anyway," she said.

AFESIP says it has been involved in rescuing about 7,000 women and girls in Cambodia, Thailand, Laos and Vietnam since 1997. In Cambodia alone, there are more than 34,000 commercial sex workers, according to a 2009 government estimate. The line between "victim" and "trafficker" is often not always clear. Women who were tricked into working in a brothel may go on to recruit others in the same way.

Mam, who is in her early-40s but does not know her exact year of birth, was sold into a brothel in her early teens by a man who she says was either her grandfather or an uncle and then repeatedly raped and abused until, after watching a friend be killed in front of her, she managed to escape. "I was completely broken," she said, adding that this experience of being a victim is something she cannot forget and is what drives her anti-trafficking campaigning.

Within the anti-trafficking field, Mam takes a controversially hardline stance: all sex workers are victims, whether of trafficking or circumstance, as no woman would really choose to work in a brothel. "Sometimes a woman -- she tells me she is choosing to be a prostitute (but if you ask) how about your daughter? You want her to be? She'll say: No, no, no'," said Mam. "(they) have no choice". This position, which underpins Mam's reliance on brothel raids as a tool to fight trafficking, enrages other activists, such as the Asia Pacific Sex Worker Network, which argues consenting adult sex workers need "rights not rescues."

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Queen Sofia of Spain (R) with Somaly Mam in Phnom Penh in 2008.

Sweeping raid-and-rescue operations and police round-ups of street-based sex workers are not only ineffective, experts say, but lead to "systematic violations of sex workers' human rights," New York-based Human Rights Watch said in 2010 report. Mam's organisation, AFESIP, has also been criticised for accepting sex workers picked up during Cambodian police round ups which HRW has said constitute "arbitrary arrests and detentions of innocent people".

Mam dismissed HRW's assessment. "When a girl has been killed in the brothel does HRW go into the brothel? So who are you exactly? When I am in the brothel, one of my friends she has been killed. Did HRW go there? No," she said.

Consenting, adult sex workers detained during the police raids -- who say they were neither victims of trafficking nor wanting AFESIP's services -- have also reported being held against their will at AFESIP shelters. "The first time (a sex worker) come to the shelter she don't want to stay ... because she don't know us," Mam said, adding that women are so "broken" by sex work they want to stay in the familiar surroundings of the brothel. "I always say: please, can you just stay one or two days, treat it like a holiday," she said, adding that if women chose to stay in the brothels she respected that decision. "I'm not going to force them, I have been forced my own life. It's up to them," she said, adding that this applied within the shelters, with no girl being forced to speak to the press or share her experiences with anyone.

Mam says she tries to listen to and learn from criticism of her tactics and approach, adding that she has "made a lot of mistakes in my life," and has never claimed to have all the answers to how to end sex slavery. "What I know how to do is just helping the women," she said.

Source: France24.

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