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Man about town: 24 April 2014

Man about town: 24 April 2014

The little white street dog that has its home base in the Royal Independence Gardens has attracted a growing group of human followers since it gave birth to a large litter of puppies. Various people, including a Russian travel agency couple, provide food and water for the dog and wriggling pups, which are holed up in a burrow under a shrub in the gardens. Drama during a recent rain deluge when mum and kids were forced to abandon the burrow and hole up in construction rubble next to the Victoria hotel. But all is well again in the doggie world since mum moved back into the burrow under the shrub. The big question now is what to do with the puppies?

The changing face of Siem Reap tourism, with Asian tourists becoming far more predominant than western tourists in town, is perhaps best exemplified by a job ad that’s gone out on behalf of Raffles Grand Hotel d'Angkor.

This iconic hotel has up until now been a bastion of mostly western tourists, but obviously that’s changing – the hotel is now advertising for a full-time Chinese-Mandarin Guest Relations Officer.”

Meanwhile the Australian Red Cross is seeking to recruit a volunteer to help it establish a business program that will enable it “to market its employment services and become financially sustainable – all while helping disadvantaged youth in Siem Reap to increase their opportunities in life.”

Siem Reap missed out by one place from becoming the highest ranked ASEAN place to visit on Tripadvisor’s worldwide top 10 destinations rankings, released just before the New Year on April 9. Hanoi came in at number eight, leading Siem Reap which was ninth, ahead of Shanghai at number ten. The top three destinations were Istanbul, Rome, and Italy.

Siem Reap came number 3 in the Top 25 Travellers’ Choice Destinations in Asia category.

Just when you thought Siem Reap had enough orphanages comes news of yet another such institution set to open in late October under the auspices of the Stop Slavery Christian outfit.

In a posting on the Stop Slavery website, an adherent named Buddy wrote, “Some have wondered why we would open an orphanage as a project for Stop Slavery. Mainly because that is the direction that God led us as we were praying about how to get started. Also it fits in line with our three original thrusts of Stop Slavery for Prevention, Justice and Healing. In a 2005 study it was estimated that 1 in 40 girls in Cambodia would end up as in the sex slavery industry. While I am not aware of a study done specifically for orphans I have to believe that it would be much higher.”

Buddy cites a 2005 study but doesn’t identify it – and Man About wonders whether the figure of 1 in 40 Cambodian girls in Cambodia ending up in sex slavery is another of those unchallenged nonsense statistical figures often bandied about in some of the more dubious realms of the NGO world.

To extrapolate, the female population of Cambodia was estimated to be 7,841,861 in the Cambodia Demographics Profile 2013. If one in 40 of these women were sex slaves, the Kingdom would be awash with 196,046 female sex slaves.

A May 2011article in Slate suggested that in Cambodia, “Estimates of sex-industry workers range from about 20,000 to 100,000; the lower number is probably far closer to the truth as the latter comes from the hyperbolic, fundraising-driven claims of anti-trafficking organisations, which seem to assume that almost every sex worker is a ‘slave.’ A more likely estimate of the percentage of trafficked prostitutes is 10 percent.”


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