News/Cambodia: Cambodian capital to expel foreign sex workers

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Subject: News/Cambodia: Cambodian capital to expel foreign sex workers
From: Melanie Orhant (morhant@igc.org)
Date: Mon Aug 09 1999 - 10:30:28 EDT


Cambodian capital to expel foreign sex workers

PHNOM PENH, Aug 5 (Reuters) - Authorities in the Cambodian capital plan to
expel foreign prostitutes, the majority of them from neighbouring Vietnam,
in an effort to cut crime, a senior city official said on Thursday.

``We don't want to see any disorder from illegal immigrants working as sex
workers,'' deputy governor of Phnom Penh Chea Sophara told Reuters. ``The
more disorder there is, the more crime increases.''

There have been occasional campaigns against prostitution in Phnom Penh in
recent years but the business continues to thrive.

Chea Sophara said there were an estimated 3,000 prostitutes from Vietnam in
Phnom Penh, about half the total number, with smaller numbers of sex
workers from other countries.

``We want to protect our culture from the flood of foreign prostitutes,''
he said. ``They come to Cambodia without passports or even identification
papers, that's illegal.''

City authorities will coordinate their campaign with the foreign and
interior ministries. Foreign prostitutes will be expelled, he said.

Prostitution is illegal but widespread in Cambodia.

The sex business has been been linked to one of the fastest spread rates of
the virus that leads to Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) in the
region.

Health authorities estimate at least 150,000 of the country's 11 million
people are infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), most of
them from having unprotected sex with infected people.

Recent research found that nearly 50 percent of women in brothels
nationwide are infected with the HIV virus and men are passing it on to
their wives. Of all married women in Cambodia, 2.4 percent are infected,
health


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