VIRGINITY TRADE & THE GIRLS OF PHNOM PENH @
D. J. Ken - National Radio Text Service
While NGO's raise excessive amounts of cash to supposedly stop the sex trade in Cambodia the only thing that has changed is NGO staffer's bank accounts as the Cambodian sex trade continues to grow. Two MUST SEE films on the Cambodian sex trade subject The Virginity Trade and The Girls of Phnom Penh will be screened at the Meta House in Phnom Penh tomorrow Tuesday night October 18.
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Monday October 17, 2011
CAMBODIAN SEX TRADE SAME, SAME NOT DIFFERENT
Child prostitution and prostitution in general is out of control in Cambodia. The problem is that little is being done about it and new NGO's are popping up raising money supposedly to solve the problem. Numerous film documentaries on the subject to provide awareness have been the major benefactors of the situation.
Phnom Penh's Meta House a German Embassy and Goethe Institute supported venue that largely displays art and films has been offering a food for the brain menu of documentaries on the subject. They have screened several films that clearly describe the problem the problem.
It raises the question of are these films made to benefit only filmmakers and those NGO's that raise money to support their colonialist lifestyle and do nothing to very little about the problem? After a the screening of Red Light a riveting expose of how children and the poor are exploited in being trapped in the sex trade the presenters representing the film requested the crowd to get the word out. We asked how can one purchase the film and where has it been screened. The questions resulted in a stunned look on their faces.
We then asked if you're trying to get the word out and raise money to resolve the problem why isn't it available to the public for purchase via Amazon or some other Internet outlet so their projects can be witnessed by the world with proceeds going towards helping the victims of sexual abuse?
We were then told to go to the Internet and search Red Light. We did and it turned out to be a porn site. Given the lack of knowledge of their awareness promotion we determined that the emphasis was on raising money and not obtaining results. Ninety percent of virgin trade customers are Khmer.
The Meta House is providing a platform for these filmmakers and topics to be experienced. Other films dealing with the subject include the German produced film Same, Same But Different. It's not a documentary but clearly depicts some of the issues that lead young girls into the sex trade and subject themselves to abuse and the possibility of death via contracting AIDS.
Tomorrow the Meta House is screening two films on the subject produced in 2009 which are excellent and a MUST SEE. The Virginity Trade is a graphic depiction of how poverty takes hold of young girls that sell their bodies in order to support their families. One of the prostitutes interviewed was informed by customers that they will have sex with her until she dies. The prostitute has no protection and is at the mercy of the client.
Police interviewed in the film admit that the trade is largely kept secret. The problem is embedded in Cambodia culture whereas Khmer men believe that they will have a loner healthier and wealthier life if they have sex with a virgin. Activist Somaly Mam a former victim of the trade describes in the film the predicament the girls are in.
The Girls of Phnom Penh is a documentary that focuses on three young prostitutes that sold their virginity to help their family. In each case a family member usually the other is sick and in need of medical help. One girl sold her virginity for US $1,000 and another for US $700. After one girl sold herself to raise the money to treat her mother breast cancer her mother died a few months later. The girls openly admit that once a Cambodia girl loses her virginity she is looked down upon and is deemed worthless to be married. One girl was married with child but when she went into the trade to raise money for family medical bills that her husbands mother insisted that he leave her and take the baby which he did.
After being corrupted by the trade they barely get by on a day to day basis. Being the bread winners of the family they often have to borrow money to pay for medicine or a family member's medical care. One girl borrowed $100 to cover medical expenses of a family member. She has to pay back $2 a day interest.
After being excited about receiving a $10 tip she explained to the other two girls how she was to divide her money. She accounted for $2.50 to her mother, interest money and another bill leaving $2.50 for herself and her two friends to eat on. One of the other girls related how she was taken advantage of by a customer who agreed to pay her $50 for a night of sex. She said he had sex with her six times and only paid her $20.
The underlying reason for the sex trade is poverty. As the most recent US Ambassador to Cambodia Carol Rodley pointed out that the country lacks adequate social services programs. This is supported by the fact that donor money is being used for other purposed while the poor people who are the source of the purpose to raise money go ignored and remain victims. She said a major portion of donor money goes towards corruption. The government requested her to apologize. With Rodley's CIA background the I in CIA means INTELLIGENCE indicating that she knows what she's talking about? As we know it Rodley did not back down from her opinion. Most educated westerners parents did not raise fools.
This past year the International donors gave $1.1 billion to the Cambodia government and China gave a $1.2 billion NO STRINGS ATTACHED DONATION to the government. If you were to divide that amount of money by 14 million Cambodian citizens the vale of each citizen is staggering. They receive nothing in return for being apparently collateral for donor funding.
Cambodia's parks are prettier than they were, the streets have been inadequately paved (potholes after 6 months) and they now have street lights but the poor remain to be chewed up and spit out by the vermin that support the sex trade that ruins and in many cases kills its people and civilization.
Cambodia is more concerned about building the tallest building in the region than protecting its people. The lack of a social service assistance net leaves the children of Cambodia an existence of being somewhat like garbage in the bottom of a garbage can to be devoured by the their maggot consumers.
CONTINUED - THE GOOD NEWS of The Girls of Phnom Penh
NOTE: For visitors to Phnom Penh the Meta house is highly recommended for those interested in knowing what the steak is about the region minus the sizzle. It's about the real deal of Cambodia. The Meta House is open Tuesday thru Sunday and closed on Monday.Their screenings and activity program for the month is available on their web site: www.meta-house.com
The Meta House
Sothearos Boulevard # 37 Sangkat Tonle Bassac, Khan Chamkarmon - opposite the Phnom Penh Center and Build Bright University.
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Tel: 023-224-140 & 023 -218-987 & 010-312-233
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