Sex Trade’s Female Victims: ‘Spoiled Goods,’ Damaged Lives

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A hostess from Cyrcee Club in Phnom Penh leads the way to a nearby hotel. (Flickr / Creative Commons)

Phnom Penh, Cambodia

The women in the bar huddle together, talking and smoking, looking bored but tense. It is a hot evening in Phnom Penh, and I am in one of the notorious sex bar areas, hoping to find out all I can about commercial sexual exploitation in the country. I have gone undercover because the sex trade, whether legal or illegal, is driven and populated by dangerous criminals, and the women being sold are vulnerable and in danger.

I am in Phnom Penh at the beginning of my investigation into three countries: Cambodia, South Africa and Albania. All are notorious trafficking hotspots—as sending, transit and destination countries. Although I use traditional journalistic methods to gather my information—setting up interviews with experts, visiting local brothels and red light districts and speaking with prostituted women, male sex buyers and pimps—I adopt false identities in order to observe the true picture. I have to be certain that nothing I do during the course of my investigations puts the exploited women and girls in further danger.

Trafficking is a terrible problem throughout Cambodia. It is one of the favored destinations for gangs selling female flesh. There are plenty of brothels; in every town and city and many of the villages, prostitution thrives. Sex tourism is big business, and the act of paying for sex is normalized and accepted throughout Cambodian society. However, prostituted women and girls are stigmatized and punished. Of a population of 15 million, a quarter of a million are thought to be victims of trafficking in Cambodia, and it is one of the worst countries when it comes to modern slavery. Most of the victims have been trafficked into prostitution.

Read more from Source: https://www.truthdig.com/articles/sex-trades-female-victims-spoiled-goods-damaged-lives/

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