Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Trafficking in virgins increasing



Trafficking in virgins increasing

Trafficking in virgins increasing

THE price of having sex with a virgin is around $400-$600, and it is mostly middle-aged

men who pay in the belief that they will gain potency and long life, according to

ECPAT-Cambodia.

The NGO group, whose name stands for End Child Prostitution, Abuse and Trafficking,

says that networks to collect and keep young girls and women in the sex trade appear

to be on the increase. The networks include armed guards and high officials.

"Presently, according to our investigation, young virgins are kept in secret

rooms of brothels. If a customer needs to see those girls, the owners just ask the

guards to bring them one by one," says ECPAT's annual report for the year up

to April 1996. "Those young girls are just 12 to 15-years-old. Demand is very

easily met - the supply seems endless."

The report says that according to ECPAT's observations, the going rate of $400-$600

for a virgin is based on the "marital cost" of girls.

"The brothel owners told us that $600 is equal to the marital cost of young

girls. So if a customer needs her for a night, the owners are going to charge the

same price."

ECPAT says that sex clients, both local and foreign, know clearly about the cost.

Clients were often aged 40 to 50, and believed that having sex with virgins enhanced

their potency, life and luck.

The report says there are few definite statistics on the numbers of prostitutes and

their customers, but several studies have shown significant growth in the size of

the sex trade. Poverty can force girls into the trade - "Dying of Aids is better

than dying of hunger," is one proverb among prostitutes. Some are sold by their

families.

ECPAT also cites family breakdowns, an erosion of values and insufficient job opportunities

as contributing factors. Meanwhile, a weak legal and policing system, open borders

and poor visa controls also leads to more trafficking.

NGO workers say some traffickers entice girls and women with offers of fictitious

jobs, while others simply kidnap them.

Benoit Duchateau d'Armijon, of the children's NGO Krousar Thmey, says many families

who lose their daughters to traffickers had no-one to turn to try and find them.

They often search for their daughters by themselves. Families may speak to NGOs,

but there is difficulty in circulating and centralizing the information they give.

Children who live on the streets for whatever reason are also at risk of being taken

into prostitution, according to Sebastien Marot from the NGO Friends, which runs

a center for streetchildren.

"The girls who are street children never stay long in the street. They disappear

really fast," he says.

Somaly Mam Legros, vice-president of ECPAT, stresses that once in the brothel, it

is very difficult for girls to get out. "Either some man falls in love with

her and pays for her [to leave]. That is not so frequent. Or once they are no more

useful to the pimp, he lets them go."

In January, a law on the suppression of trafficking humans - with penalties including

10-20 years' imprisonment for pimps and brothel landowners - was passed. But there

is skepticism about how it will be enforced.

MOST VIEWED

  • Kingdom's Covid cluster cases jump to 194

    The Ministry of Health on February 25 confirmed 65 new cases of Covid-19, with 58 linked to the February 20 community transmission. The latest cluster cases include nine Vietnamese nationals, five Cambodians, one each from Korea, Singapore and Japan, with the rest being Chinese. This brings the total number

  • Locations shut, dozens more Covid-19 positive

    The Ministry of Health has closed 23 locations in connection with the February 20 community transmission of Covid-19 and summoned for testing anyone who had direct contact with affected people and places. The number of discovered related infections has risen to 76, including 39 women. In a press release,

  • Preah Sihanouk hit with travel ban

    Preah Sihanouk Provincial Administration has announced a temporary travel ban to and from the province, except for ambulances and trucks transporting goods. The announcement came after prime minister Hun Sen called on people in the province to travel only if necessary, and that people not

  • Cambodia's Covid cluster cases rise to 137

    The Ministry of Health on February 24 recorded 40 more cases of Covid-19, with 38 linked to the February 20 community transmission. Of the 40, two are imported cases involving Chinese passengers. The 38 include two Vietnamese nationals and one Cambodian, with the rest being Chinese. This brings the total cases

  • AstraZeneca jabs touch down in Phnom Penh airport

    The first shipment of 324,000 doses of the AstraZeneca/SII vaccine which was provided through the Covid-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) Facility was delivered to Phnom Penh International Airport on March 2. The rest of the COVAX provided vaccines will arrive in Cambodia at a later date.

  • Covid cluster raises alarm, health bodies urge vigilance

    The Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia have expressed great concern over the February 20 cluster transmission of Covid-19 in the community. Both entities appealed for vigilance and cooperation in curbing further spread of the virus. Ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine said