Prostitution is been increasing throughout the country. Excluding certain brothels
which are fearlessly showing their faces, namely Svay Park, Toul Khok embankment,
Chak Angre, etc., prostitution can also be seen at the massage zone, both small and
large, coffee shops and now even at the areas previously called the Sundays' tourist
The Sundays' tourist centers, which run from Chroy Ta Prom to Kien Svay, have become
another nest of prostitutes.
Prostitution is also seen at the night clubs and bars. After dancing with their visitors,
the girls are bought for prostitution one after another.
In 1980, prostitution started coming to life in Phnom Penh. At that time, there were
only a few prostitutes who stayed along the sidewalks, in front of the (train) station,
at the bus stops, and in public places. But, since the state took measures to rehabilitate
and educate them by putting them in the rehabilitation center in Koh Romdoul (Koh
Ko) in Kandal province, prostitution seemed to be declining.
Later on, despite having been educated, after coming from the rehabilitation center,
some girls continued their old careers and started living in groups in Chak Angre
Leu, Psar Toch and Svay Park.
According to some sources, in 1990 there were only 1,500 prostitutes and 224 madams
in Phnom Penh.
At present, prostitution is prevailing on every corner in Phnom Penh, which makes
statistics difficult to compile.
Worse still, at the moment, prostitution has become a normal thing.
This is a serious problem, because all kinds of venereal disease could come from
the brothels, not to mention AIDS.
Through blood tests, there are now 65 people carrying the AIDS virus, 17 of whom
are girls from "Hand Waving Village" [Svay Park].
It can be estimated that there are more people who have the AIDS virus, because many
of the brothel regulars have boycotted blood tests. And the majority of the people
still do not know what AIDS and its consequences are.
Because of their traditional shyness, some people who have venereal disease refuse
to go to the hospital and stay at home, treating themselves with medicines or traditional
herbs they buy.
At present, there are many visitors from some overseas places which are abundant
in AIDS carriers.
Some people argue that the prostitutes should be collected in one place, with their
madams paying taxes to the state and being responsible for the health of their workers.
During the previous times, in each villa (brothel), the madam hired a doctor to check
up her daughters.
To avoid having venereal disease, you should not go to brothels and, especially,
you should know about the disease.
Also, you should not forget to use condoms just as you must not walk in the rain
without a rain coat, or you might get influenza.
- Vannadeth, (Translated by Moeun Chhean Nariddh)