BANGKOK, Thailand — Eyes gouged out for insolence, moms selling daughters to pimps, girls showered with maggots — if it happened in a Cambodian brothel, the story is never too shocking for Westerners to believe.These tales, all propagated by fundraising charities in Cambodia, depict the nation’s sex trade as an otherworldly hellscape.In the last decade, these groups have relied on such anecdotes to raise millions toward “saving” Cambodian women from prostitution.And in promoting this crusade, they’ve painted a picture of pitiful girls swallowed by an underground industry that is downright demonic.Sephak has since joined AIM as a worker, helping other survivors earn money making bracelets and clothing."Today, I feel much more stability than before. They don't understand that their daughters have hearts, that they suffer."Brewster added that the focal point of sexual trafficking in Cambodia is taking place in Svay Pak, a fishing village on the outskirts of the capital of Phnom Penh.Families there reportedly earn less than a dollar a day, which drives them to desperation."When we talk about child sex trafficking, this was at one point the epicenter," Brewster said."We would say when we came [to Svay Pak] it was 100 percent — if you were a girl born here, you were going to be trafficked.
bombs dropped on Cambodia during the Vietnam War than fell on Europe during the Second World War. The terrible legacy is that Cambodia is one of poorest, most corrupt countries in the world with the second highest number of landmines. It’s impossible to know how many Canadian men have visited Cambodia and sexually abused children, just as it is impossible to know how many other travelling sex offenders from other countries have visited and escaped prosecution.
In Cambodia, on a daily basis, we witness firsthand that sex trafficking of adults and children is prolific – sometimes in very obvious and visible ways, but more often as part of a dark, underground economy.
Learn more about sex trafficking in Cambodia where AIM’s programs are located.
More than half of Cambodia’s 14.7 million citizens are under the age of 18.
What is known is that the number of tourists to Cambodia — both good and bad — grows every year.