Part 2 - THE
GOOD NEWS of The Girls of THE GIRLS OF PHNOM PENH
@ the META HOUSE
D. J. Ken - National Radio Text Service
When a girl loses their virginity they are scorned and looked down upon. They are viewed as being unworthy of marriage. In the Girls of Phnom Penh the three prostitute friends discussed that situation. They felt they did the right thing in support of their parents selling their virginity - The Virginity Trade and The Girls of Phnom Penh will be screened at the Meta House in Phnom Penh TONIGHT Tuesday October 18.
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Tuesday October 18, 2011
FREE AT LAST, FREE AT LAST
The documentary The Girls of Phnom Penh had a happy ending with the three young prostitutes (16, 16 & 17 years of age) surviving their predicament. The producer/director Matthew Watson and his production crew raised money to buy out their contract to pay off the girl's debt and they were free at last.
What was not explained in the film is when a girl is sold into prostitution for whatever amount the have to work until the debit is paid off. The girls receive a percentage of their earnings the customer pays. In and ideal situation it's 50%. In bad situations it's less and the brothel owners often cheat the girls by giving them a small percentage or simply give them no credit at all and hold them as prisoners. In many cases the girls aren't aware of what they earn or owe and charges are applied for the food they eat or other items.
Over a 13-year period we've interviewed several of these girls and each had a different sad story. One girl from the provinces got into the business after she obtained a job in Phnom Penh as a waitress in a restaurant. When the owner's wife was away the owner raped the girl. The abuse continued for some time. When the girl informed the wife the wife didn't believe her. The girl eventually left the job and having lost her virginity and self respect and became a freelance prostitute working out of bars.
A decade ago UNESCO produced a play A Wounded Life regarding how poor families from the provinces are tricked into selling their children into the sex trade. The trick in the play was the girl was to marry a wealthy old man. When she was brought to Phnom Penh she was sold off to a brothel.
When a girl loses their virginity they are scorned and looked down upon. They are viewed as being unworthy of marriage. In the Girls of Phnom Penh the three friends discussed that situation. They felt they did the right thing in support of their parents selling their virginity since the money was going towards saving their parents lives. They agreed that if they were to marry that they would tell their husbands of their past and if they truly loved them that they would accept it. They came up with a 5% figure that 5 of 100 males would accept their past ad marry them.
I Cambodia if a girl isn't married by the time they are 25 they are believed to be unworthy. It is tradition that the parents arrange the marriage of their children ad find a worthy husband or wife. The wealthier the family the greater the scrutiny of the others background including their wealth.
After being freed from bondage it was noted in the film's closing credits that the girls were training to become beauticians and remained together as friends watching each others back. Given that the credits note that the film was produced in 2009 as a follow up it would be interesting to see if the girls achieved their goals and became beauticians. In many cases girls return to the sex business as was a case depicted in the documentary Red Light.
At the end of the just short of one hour film there is a request for donations to a web site: www.thegirlsofphnompenh.com
How to purchase the 55 minute 22 second documentary on the DVD or the Internet remains a mystery.
DONORS BEWARE: As we checked to see the status on Google of some of our stories we searched the Virginity Trade. It was listed as our story by National Radio but was linked to You Tube and an unknown by us source. There was a 60 second clip of the Virginity Trade with a request for donations and a link to do so. On that page there are other misleading links to stories that would lead one to believe they are about the sex trade. Most are not. BEWARE OF THIS APPARENT TRICK: The link to that page is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2g07fz48VZI
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 through 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
Part 1 - Phnom Penh