Skip to comments.Cambodia, Where Sex Traffickers Are King
Posted on 01/15/2005 1:11:35 PM PST by wagglebee
PHNOM PENH, Cambodia
Sex trafficking at its worst is the slavery of the 21st century, yet it has become one of the world's growth industries. To understand how brazen it is, step up to the second floor of the Chai Hour II Hotel here in the Cambodian capital.
It's like an aquarium: beyond a glass wall are dozens of teenage girls in skimpy white outfits, each with a number. The customer orders a girl by number, and the manager delivers her a moment later to a private room.
A Cambodian police report in my hands describes the Chai Hour II as a case "of confinement of human beings for commercial sex" and adds that it is also "a place for trafficking/sale of virgin girls." All told, the report says, 250 girls and women work in the six-floor labyrinth of cubicles.
So last month, Cambodia's top-ranking female police officer ordered a raid on the Chai Hour II and rescued 83 girls. They were taken to a shelter run by Afesip, an aid group mainly financed by Spain.
But the next day, the trafficking tycoons turned the tables and raided the shelter. About 30 raiders, some wearing military clothing and at least one driving a car with military license plates, broke down the shelter gate, beat up one woman on the staff and took all the girls back to the brothel.
Aarti Kapoor, a legal adviser to Afesip, acknowledges that dozens of the girls genuinely wanted to return to the brothel; shame, drug addiction and a desperate need for money keep many in the sex trade. But dozens of others, she says, wanted to stay in the shelter but were forced back anyway.
To top it off, Cambodia's top police official reprimanded the female officer who had ordered the raid on the Chai Hour II and even briefly suspended her from her post.
We've had narco-trafficking states; Cambodia may be becoming the first sex-slavery state.
The U.S. State Department estimates that 600,000 to 800,000 people a year are trafficked across international borders, mostly girls and most of them for the sex industry. Many more, like the girls in the Chai Hour II, are trafficked within a country.
As it becomes a global industry, sex trafficking is increasingly controlled by organized crime, like the ethnic Chinese mafias in Asia, and the criminals use their profits to buy government officials. Cambodia had made progress against child prostitution in the last couple of years, but now the sex industry has struck back.
The Chai Hour is so bold that it drove some of the girls to the U.S. Embassy for a protest against Western interference. A lawsuit, nominally by the girls themselves (who say they're masseuses and entertainers rather than prostitutes), seeks $1.7 million from Afesip, in an apparent effort to drive it out of the country, and Afesip's staff has received many death threats.
"This is very dangerous, and I'm very scared about my security," said Pierre Legros, a founder of Afesip, who has hired eight bodyguards to protect his children. His wife, a Cambodian who also works for Afesip, has twice had guns held to her head.
I dropped by the Chai Hour II, explained that I was an American reporter and asked to interview the owner. He was "out." Teenage girls, looking about 15 and older, floated about, but the alarmed managers blocked me from interviewing them. A security goon made it clear that photos were out of the question - but a pimp did politely serve me a cup of tea.
The State Department's office on trafficking, to its credit, has been jumping up and down ever since the raid on Afesip occurred. "It's unacceptable - it's egregious," the office's director, Ambassador John Miller, told me this week. "This was government complicity."
But nothing will happen unless we get higher-level outrage in Washington and other foreign capitals.
President Bush has done more than his predecessors in making sex trafficking an issue, and his State Department has done a first-rate job exerting pressure - but there's so much more that we could do. The Bush administration could put a real dent in sex trafficking if we were to treat it as firmly as we do, say, pirated movies, and this brazen incident in Cambodia would be a fine place to start.
In the 19th century, the civilized world recognized that slavery was a moral blot on humanity and rose up against it. So why should we acquiesce in 21st-century slavery, when 15-year-old girls are imprisoned in brothels and sentenced to death by AIDS? Those kids in the Chai Hour II Hotel have nowhere else to turn, and their lives are in our hands.
I'm amazed that Kristof would make this admission. This is such a very sad situation.
Tell me why American people are so hated in this world when the the treatment of women is better here than anywhere in the world?
Because socialists thrive in an environment of hate.
The left wants to destroy America, therefore they will overlook any facts that don't correspond to their agenda and tell any lies necessary to further their goal.
you are so right wagglebee
>>>As it becomes a global industry, sex trafficking is increasingly controlled by organized crime, like the ethnic Chinese mafias in Asia, and the criminals use their profits to buy government officials.
The quantum fund was set up originally with foreign investors. I can't help but wonder if the money is from human trafficking.
Don't forget, a lot of the 'non profit' funds are for Soros funded youth groups.
If these prostitutes don't chose abortion, their babies are taken from them and raised (indoctrinated) by these youth groups and are turned right back to the human trafficking arena.
I think you're really onto something here!
As much as I sympathize with the females caught in this situation, what can the US do about in internal situation in Cambodia? We can't crack a whip and demand that everyone in the world adhere to our moral standards.
It isn't that we can do anything...it's the SOROS link,which has some of us benumbed.
I don't think this is America's problem to solve. I do think that America can impose trade sanctions against the countries that knowingly allow this to happen. We did this in South Africa and Apartheid was over within a few years (even though the system that replaced it isn't any better, it's just different).
Don't allow Americans to travel there, for starters.
Nice, very nice, take, Cal. It would be naive to think Soros is rich b/c he is an altruist........even though Soros wants everyone to believe he is motivated by the (gag) goodness of his heart.
Soros reminds me of the old saying about do-gooder liberals, "There's always someone willing to say they're for their fellow-man and hoping to make a buck on it."
Soros mucking around American politics should give us pause. His motives are not to be trusted.
Plausible theory, Calpernia. These children are just another commodity to people like him.
Liz, it seems the less honorable they are (Soros/Kerry), the more mucking around they do!
Come by here too: http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1320747/posts
"We can't crack a whip and demand that everyone in the
world adhere to our moral standards".
=====well,hell, Clinton tried to do that.........