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What the pros say

What the pros say

T HE life of a prostitute certainly doesn't rob them of humour - or perception, perhaps - as proved by Mai, a prostitute born in Seim Reap now working at a popular Phnom Penh nighclub.

When asked what kind of men she preferred, Mai - who would only say she was under 20 and had been a prostitute for four years - said: "Well, the British men always want me to pretend to be their mother".

"German men, they want me to pretend to be their daughter".

When asked about any other of her expat clients, Mai said that the Australians were "strange".

Strange? "Yes, strange. They want me sometimes to dress up like a schoolgirl. The Australians and Germans enjoy the school uniform," she said.

Mai said the African men don't like to talk during sex, prefering to be silent and having the lights off.

American men "drink so much they often cannot finish what they started," she said.

On the subject of Khmer men, Mai said that she prefered Westerners, primarily because she could charge them twice what Khmers would pay.

"Khmer men are often drunk and rude and unpleasant," she added.

The best Mai could manage was "I don't know any Canadians."

Mai said Phnom Penh was the best place for prostitution because of the number of Western clients paying double the going rate.

Mai, who could not read or write but spoke very good English, did not obviously enjoy her job. But when asked why she did not leave and work at something else she just laughed and said: "What?" - Jane Buchanan

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