A POLICE crackdown on massage parlours and hotels in Phnom Penh ahead of the upcoming Water Festival has led to the arrest of 17 coining girls on suspicions of offering paid sexual services.
The girls who offered the traditional medical procedure were arrested in Daun Penh district on Wednesday and have been sent to the municipal social affairs office for vocational skills training.
Sok Penhvuth, deputy governor of Daun Penh district, said Thursday that officials want to prevent the spread of disease as the capital’s population swells ahead of the three-day festival.
“We don’t want to see the boat racers bring diseases such as HIV/AIDS back to their wives. We want to protect the men in case they get caught up in the festivities and forget about health and safety,” he said.
Ly Rosyami, deputy governor of Russey Keo district, said authorities will continue surveying massage parlours, guesthouses and hotels today and tomorrow.
“During the three days of the Water Festival, we will have representatives standing outside each massage parlour, coining shop and karaoke bar to distribute condoms and provide health information to customers,” she said.
Mann Chhoeun, deputy governor of Phnom Penh, said the intention was not to close down businesses but to prevent the spread of diseases.
“I want to say to them they can win a boat race but they cannot win against HIV/AIDS,” he said.
He added that authorities will cooperate with NGOs to organise health seminars for boat racers at their team tents.