Actress Doun Zorida gets her makeup done Tuesday before hosting an entertainment show on TV5.
A CRIMINAL investigation has been launched into a number of Phnom Penh nightclubs that purport to offer female film stars' services as high-class escorts.
Actresses have told the Post they intend to sue for damages, actors unions are issuing warnings to their members, and the Minister of Women's Affairs has expressed outrage at the practice - which, it says, objectifies women and damages Cambodian culture.
Movie star Doun Zorida, who also presents an entertainment show on TV5, told the Post Tuesday that she has spoken to the police, who have launched a probe into the clubs, and has decided to go public to draw attention to the issue.
"My pictures have been shown in photo albums at some VIP clubs in Phnom Penh and with a price next to the photo of some $4,000 to $8,000," she told the Post, referring to purported charges for sexual services, but declining to name the clubs involved in the scam.
"The clubs put my photo there to cheat their clients. When a client asks for me, the owner asks them to pick another actress because I am busy," she said, adding that she intended to sue and appealed to other affected actresses to come forward.
"When the police went to investigate the clubs, they found many actresses' photos in albums, all with different prices. I know that some film stars really do [prostitute themselves] but I do not. Not all film stars sell their body," she said.
"Today I am telling all actresses to come together to sue these people through the anti-human trafficking police, so that when police see club owners use our photos they will arrest them," she added.
Ing Kantha Phavi, minister for women's affairs said on Tuesday that her ministry would help the investigation.
"It impacts how women are valued if this has in fact happened. The ministry always tries to promote Khmer women as valuable members of society and the family, not as objects," she said. "We will cooperate with police and take measures through the law if it has happened,"
Ten Borany, deputy director of the Anti-Human Trafficking Department at the Ministry of Interior, said he was "now investigating the issue".
Doun Zorida added that her photo had also been displayed on escorting websites and on club owners' phones.
"After I consulted the club owners, the photos were taken out of the albums, but they can still show their clients the photos on their phone," she added.
Actress and singer Vang Sreyno told the Post that she had also seen her photo displayed in clubs, and that she had met with police to help them investigate the issue.
"I will join together to sue these clubs because it affects the entire film industry," she said.
Ieng Sithul, director of the Khmer Actress Association, said she was making other actresses aware of the problem.
"Right now we are talking about this issue with our members, and we plan to formally launch a lawsuit against them on Friday."