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The Cambodian Child Sex Trade

In Phuket, Thailand, I spent some creepy time chatting with womanizing older German men. They all had twenty-something year old Thai girlfriends already, but they had big other plans.

“Every day vee play Poker together,” said Hans with a leer, “And vee put money in a pot. Vhen we have a full pot, you know vhat we do?” I didn’t know. “Vacation! Cambodia!” he gave a wink. “They haff niiiice young girls there. Very young.”

Cambodia is notorious for it’s horrific sex trade, most notably, providing older Western tourists with very young girls, and sometimes boys. Upon entering the country, I was slapped with numerous billboards that stated “PROTECT OUR NATIONAL TREASURES,” showing a photo of a young Cambodian child. “A CHILD IS ANYONE UNDER 18.” said the poster. “It is illegal to sexually exploit a child.” At the bottom of the poster, a telephone hotline was provided for bystanders to report sexual wrongdoing.

Today, eating spicy green mango salad in a sun-drenched cafe, I suddenly wished I had written down the hotline. Across from me sat two large, pasty Western men, lecherously feeding Sprite to two EXTREMELY young Cambodian street girls. My breath came faster and my blood churned. What should I do? I glared at the men, scheming a plan.

Then, two more young girls appeared, begging every tourist they met to buy their small trinkets. The two Western men gestured them over. They sat them down at the table with Sprite, gave them crayons and paper, paid the bill, left a stack of money for the four grinning children and walked away.

The girls enjoyed their sodas for a hour, giggling and gossiping, with huge smiles on their faces. I snapped a photo.

Maybe the men came back later to collect favors from the children, but I like to think they actually just wanted to be nice. Sometimes paranoia is necessary, but sometimes people are just sweet.

 

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Stephanie

Wednesday 7th of January 2015

This is really interesting to know. I never knew that this is happening in Cambodia. I am also glad to know this because it gives me information on what goes on in a different part of the world. I hope every time you visit a new place you are safe and treated well.

Shobha

Saturday 29th of March 2014

I've come across these types of Western men too when I was in Phuket. It is very open and brazen, I agree. And, they know what they are doing. The Thai girls I saw were old enough (20?) so not illegal but skeevy nonetheless. They were saying they come every year for a couple of weeks to Thailand for the 'girlfriend' experience. Just so disturbing.

Lillie

Sunday 30th of March 2014

Really unsettling.

Triston X.

Saturday 21st of April 2012

I think that Thailand needs more control over there people. It is horrible that they have the children sex slave. Thailand need to protect their children. I hope that they improve their government and they begin to crack down these heartless monsters.

Lillie

Sunday 22nd of April 2012

True, but this article is about the country of Cambodia, not Thailand!

Vivian Greene

Wednesday 1st of February 2012

Men like this are gross. And it isn't a matter of whether they know "spending time" with VERY young girls is wrong, they traveled all the way from Germany to see them, they know exactly what they are doing. Thailand's government really needs to start cracking down on this child sex trade. Honestly, it has been going on for way too long, and the same goes for America with prostitutes that have been smuggled from places like Thailand and El Salvador. That poster doesn't do any justice either because it says only "if you are caught sexually abusing a child". So, if you aren't caught in the action you don't have to face any consequences? That seems more than a little unfair to the child and it is just plain stupid. I know that there are a lot of people in places like Cambodia. but that must mean that there are a lot of cops/policemen/firemen, it only makes sense, but in a place like Cambodia, nothing seems to make any sense when it comes to laws. I mean in Thailand there is no age limit on how old a child can be to smoke, the tobacco companies don't even worry about it, as long as they get their money from the tobacco they sell to young children openly.

Fiona P

Friday 27th of January 2012

I think that is creepy and stalking.

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