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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Two girls locked in brothel die in fire

Two girls locked in brothel die in fire

D EATH was the last grim customer for two young prostitutes in the Toul Kork red light

district on the outskirts of Phnom Penh last week.

Desperately shouting for help, the two were consumed by fire.

The young Khmer women died because some say they were locked in their rooms and could

not flee the raging inferno that erupted about 5am.

The fire, which razed ten adjoining houses, followed an argument between the proprietor

and three customers over a bill of about $100.

The women, bought recently from another brothel for $460, had been locked in their

rooms by the brothel master, according to some Khmer papers.

Prostitutes dying in fires, having been locked up by pimps worried they would flee,

is almost becoming commonplace.

A Khmer newspaper reported that one of the customers wore a police uniform.

The man who ran the brothel has disappeared along with the other girls who worked

there.

The fire and deaths did not slow business down much in the red-light district. Fires

are common here; death and disease as well. One of the women who died in the fire

was sick, according to a prostitute across the street.

A day before the fire, a government spokesman said that co-Prime Minister Prince

Norodom Ranariddh now supports a city plan to relocate city brothels to the outskirts

of town.

City Governor Chhim Seak Leng was quoted as having said that crackdowns on the brothels

in the city didn't work because "local authorities take money from brothel owners."

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