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Children for sale, children to buy (Vibol's story...)

Children for sale, children to buy (Vibol's story...)

V IBOL'S first encounter with a foreign paedophile was something a 13-year-old

Cambodian street kid could neither be expected to imagine nor

understand.

Vibol was swept off the streets by a 37-year-old Belgian

accountant who organized a passport for his new Khmer "son", and together they

spent a week in Singapore and two months in Jakarta.

"I just sleep with

him and play with him," Vibol said of his first homosexual experience, now two

years on. "No fuck, no smoke his penis."

Vibol - who struggles to

remember the names, or even how many Western men have had sex with him since -

knows exactly the Belgian's name; it was his own for a brief time. This was

confirmed by workers involved in caring for street kids, but for legal reasons

cannot be published.

"After two months in Indonesia he told me there

would be a problem with the government and that it was difficult for a Khmer

national to live in another country," the 15-year-old street kid

said.

They came back to Phnom Penh and the Belgian abandoned Vibol in a

guest house two days later. "I always sleep till 9am or 10am, but one morning he

just go away from me. I don't know why." Vibol said he wasn't sad to find him

gone.

Vibol got into the "game" like most; told by a friend experienced

in street life that "going with foreigners is easy", and Vibol needed the

money.

Vibol is not typical of most street kids. He is now a consummate

professional, his English excellent, his character and looks - while both last -

attractive to those who actively seek him out.

He says that his mother

and father separated and she refused to pay for his schooling, while his father

re-married and did not want him in his house. The truth, according to those who

had dealt with him, is that his parents are together, both work and have money.

But neither could control a precocious son who got in with a wrong crowd and

quickly found a way to make money from Western men who enjoy sleeping with boys.

His mother gives him food but not money, and knows he is a

prostitute.

"Life on the street is difficult," says Vibol - and that is

true, though the majority of children who live there because of circumstance

rather than choice find it even more so. Vibol says he has never had penetrative

sex with the four Westerners he says he has been with, but those who know him

say that is not so.

" Vibol - he has been with at least 10 men, probably

more. He is a hard-core pro," says a child care worker, who will not be

named.

At least two of Vibol's "encounters" have been relatively lengthy.

The Belgian kept him for more than two months while a German engineer - his

second partner - kept him for a month.

"He gave me clothes, money and a

bicycle," Vibol said. However, the German - again whose name is independently

confirmed - had a "permanent" Khmer boyfriend. Vibol said he spent only hours at

a time at his house but was able to visit anytime to ask for money and food. The

payment was usually 5,000 riel, though the final "pay-off" when the German moved

addresses was $10. "I don't know where he lives now," Vibol said of the German.

"Police want to arrest him because he takes boys."

Vibol's third partner,

another Belgian called "Phillipe", only wanted Vibol to translate for another

Khmer boy. "I sleep with him but didn't smoke him," Vibol said.

Vibol

says business has been down lately, with fewer foreigners about picking up

children. "They are too scared because the police want to arrest

them."

The message is beginning to get through to the kids. Vibol and his

friends speak of a handful of NGOs telling them that "the big men shouldn't be

doing this to the boys" and that "foreigners are doing bad things."

"The

first foreigner I lived with, he told me that the government wants to lock him

up, with all foreigners who do like this," Vibol said. Some street kids are

"telling on foreigners", Vibol added, saying they are angry at not being paid

enough.

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