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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - The Problem of Prostitution

The Problem of Prostitution

Prostitution is been increasing throughout the country. Excluding certain brothels

which are fearlessly showing their faces, namely Svay Park, Toul Khok embankment,

Chak Angre, etc., prostitution can also be seen at the massage zone, both small and

large, coffee shops and now even at the areas previously called the Sundays' tourist


The Sundays' tourist centers, which run from Chroy Ta Prom to Kien Svay, have become

another nest of prostitutes.

Prostitution is also seen at the night clubs and bars. After dancing with their visitors,

the girls are bought for prostitution one after another.

In 1980, prostitution started coming to life in Phnom Penh. At that time, there were

only a few prostitutes who stayed along the sidewalks, in front of the (train) station,

at the bus stops, and in public places. But, since the state took measures to rehabilitate

and educate them by putting them in the rehabilitation center in Koh Romdoul (Koh

Ko) in Kandal province, prostitution seemed to be declining.

Later on, despite having been educated, after coming from the rehabilitation center,

some girls continued their old careers and started living in groups in Chak Angre

Leu, Psar Toch and Svay Park.

According to some sources, in 1990 there were only 1,500 prostitutes and 224 madams

in Phnom Penh.

At present, prostitution is prevailing on every corner in Phnom Penh, which makes

statistics difficult to compile.

Worse still, at the moment, prostitution has become a normal thing.

This is a serious problem, because all kinds of venereal disease could come from

the brothels, not to mention AIDS.

Through blood tests, there are now 65 people carrying the AIDS virus, 17 of whom

are girls from "Hand Waving Village" [Svay Park].

It can be estimated that there are more people who have the AIDS virus, because many

of the brothel regulars have boycotted blood tests. And the majority of the people

still do not know what AIDS and its consequences are.

Because of their traditional shyness, some people who have venereal disease refuse

to go to the hospital and stay at home, treating themselves with medicines or traditional

herbs they buy.

At present, there are many visitors from some overseas places which are abundant

in AIDS carriers.

Some people argue that the prostitutes should be collected in one place, with their

madams paying taxes to the state and being responsible for the health of their workers.

During the previous times, in each villa (brothel), the madam hired a doctor to check

up her daughters.

To avoid having venereal disease, you should not go to brothels and, especially,

you should know about the disease.

Also, you should not forget to use condoms just as you must not walk in the rain

without a rain coat, or you might get influenza.

- Vannadeth, (Translated by Moeun Chhean Nariddh)



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