Daun Penh district authorities have requested the Phnom Penh municipal Department of Veterans Affairs and Youth Rehabilitation to help find jobs for seven sex workers who were detained in the Wat Phnom Park area on Monday night.
District deputy governor Yos Yuthy, who led the forces which detained the workers, said the department should collaborate with relevant organisations. He said the hope is that the sex workers can change their careers.
Authorities detained the seven prostitutes on Monday night and sent them to the Department of Social Affairs.
“We cracked down on the sex workers because they can badly affect public order at Wat Phnom Park, which is a sacred place and destination for national and international tourists.
“They stand under trees and wave to find customers and that is bad for public order,” he said.
Among the seven, some of them had previously signed contracts to stop their activities and had been sent to the Department of Social Affairs once before.
Yuthy said they broke the contract because they couldn’t find work elsewhere.
“The department should work in collaboration with related organisations to find proper jobs for them so that they will not continue prostituting themselves.
“If there is no job for them, they will return to prostitution after their detention. There are a lot of jobs for them and we can help them to get onto the right path,” he said.
The seven Cambodian sex workers are in their 20s and most of them live in Russey Keo district.
Daun Penh district authorities detain sex workers in Wat Phnom Park on a regular basis, Yuthy said.
He said they used to detain between 10 and 15 of them a day, but now only a small number remained.
The group of sex workers, he said, are led by someone and authorities are searching for him or her.
Phnom Penh municipal Department of Veterans Affairs and Youth Rehabilitation president Mom Chan Dany said on Tuesday that police contacted the sex workers’ families before allowing them to return home.
“Those who have families were sent home. Those who do not have families were sent to a partner organisation to give them vocational skills,” Chan Dany said.
She said imparting knowledge related to a different line of work can be difficult and takes time.
“We introduced them to these opportunities once but they did not understand. We, therefore, have to consult with them again until they accept vocational training and new life skills,” she said.
Vocational training that partner organisations provide to sex workers varies depending on their preferences and skills.
In general, organisations do not want them to learn difficult skills. They train them in practical skills like hairdressing, manicuring nails and cooking, she said.