[Stop-traffic] FW: Safe Sex

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Subject: [Stop-traffic] FW: Safe Sex
From: Ann Jordan (Annj@HRLawgroup.org)
Date: Tue Jan 02 2001 - 18:55:37 EST

-----Original Message-----
From: debra@oln.comlink.apc.org [mailto:debra@oln.comlink.apc.org]
Sent: Saturday, December 11, 1999 4:54 AM
To: hurinet-women@mail.comlink.apc.org
Subject: KHM: Safe Sex

Edited/Distributed by HURINet - The Human Rights Information Network
## author : camnews-errors@lists.best.com
## date : 27.11.99
South China Morning Post, Saturday, November 6, 1999

Wealthy clients demand virgins for 'safe sex' By Joe

Phnom Penh -- As Cambodia grapples with what is the highest
HIV infection rate in Asia, wealthy foreign and Cambodian
men alike are turning to virgins as an alternative to using

That in turn, according to children and women's rights
workers, has caused a disturbing increase in prostitutes
under 18, who number as many as 16,000.

"About one-third of the 50,000 Cambodian and Vietnamese
prostitutes in Cambodia are children, ranging from 11 to
18," said Kien Serey Phal, director of the Cambodian Women's
Development Association [mailto:CWDA@bigpond.com.kh] in
Phnom Penh.

"Child prostitution is increasing because people with money
think they will live longer and remain healthy if they have
sex with young girls," she said. "And they are afraid of
HIV, so they buy virgins."

For powerful Cambodian figures and foreign sex tourists,
child prostitutes like Thi Thu offer safe sex.

The 15-year-old Vietnamese girl was a virgin until three
weeks ago, when a Taiwanese businessman paid US$500 to have
sex with her for two days in a private house in Phnom Penh.

"It was my first time sleeping with a man in my life," the
attractive girl said shyly. "Now I've slept with several
men, all of them foreigners.

"My parents have a lot of debts, so my sister brought me to
Cambodia to sell myself for money."

Nguyen Cuong, a Vietnamese brothel owner in Phnom Penh,
sells virgins aged 13 to 15 for US$500 for three days or
US$600 for a week.

"They are all from poor families in south Vietnam," she

"My sister knows people involved in a [human-trafficking]

Once her virginity is lost, a prostitute's value falls to
less than US$100 per sex session, and will drop further as
she becomes older and services more clients.

Police occasionally shut down brothels in Phnom Penh, but
the raids are mostly for show - officers receive protection
money from pimps and often return prostitutes who escape and
seek their help.

Senior government and military officials - including at
least two cabinet members - are rumoured to frequent
establishments offering virgins.

Yim Po, director of the Cambodian Centre for the Protection
of Children's Rights, is convinced the increase in child
prostitution can be blamed on powerful figures demanding
virgins to avoid contracting HIV.

"Some government officials who have power and money like to
have sex with young girls. We know who they are, but we are
afraid to say their names."

Mao Sovadei, director of the Ministry of Social Affairs'
child welfare department said: "The Government has no money
to stop it.

"We just know that there are more and more child prostitutes
in Cambodia, and we lack the money to crack down on it."
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