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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Sex traders move on Cambodia

Sex traders move on Cambodia

C ambodia is facing a growing problem of women and children being smuggled out of

the country by international sex traders.

The country is especially

vulnerable because it shares borders with Vietnam and Thailand, which are

notorious as trafficking points for the sex industry.

"There have been

several reports that girls from Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines, Laos, Burma

and even Russia are victims of trafficking in the region," said Meng Ho Leang,

co-director of Cambodian Institute of Human Rights. "Now Cambodia is being

sucked in."

The country's thriving cross-border trade with Thailand has

enticed many Thai pimps to relocate their operations here.

Unicef's

Margaret de Monchy said pimping rings were being forced out of Thailand

following a police crackdown.

Those who were taken out of the country

were usually taken to Thailand via the southern port city of Koh Kong, close to

the Thai-Cambodia border, according to a 1991 Unicef consultancy

report.

Chan Sobunry, secretary of Ponleu Khmer, a coalition of local

NGOs, said border trading towns like Poipet have become major centers for sex

traffickers.

Although there is no concrete evidence of organized

Cambodian abduction-and-sale rings so far, there is little doubt that they

exist.

"From our experience in other countries, we know that such

activity has to be organized with local support at several levels," said an

employee of an international NGO. A powerful drug which induces unconsciousness

has also been found on sale in some parts of Phnom Penh for up to $400 for a

small bottle, a local NGO claimed last week.

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