She was feted widely in the media. Mam's own story of woe — that she was orphaned and sold to a brothel at the age of 12 — was also dismantled. If you drop cloth, the stain never comes out. He mentions a case last year of a senior military officer who was diagnosed with cancer and given one year to live. The man, who was wearing "a dark suit and a gold watch", didn't speak or look at her at all, Dara says. He is someone whose name crops up repeatedly in relation to the virgin trade among journalists and activists in Cambodia. In recent months she has been braving the front line of garment workers' protests to support their demand for a livable wage. But they are especially dire for women, who earn an average of only 27 cents for every dollar earned by a man , according to the Asian Development Bank. When I told him yes, he used even more force.
The slum's stilted shacks are home to around 1, people, many of whom recycle rubbish as their only source of income. Severe poverty and ingrained gender inequality fuel Cambodia's virgin trade Photograph: The gardens employ miniskirted young women to sell competing brands of Cambodian beer or to work as hostesses and sing karaoke. There is no suggestion that these women have been sold Photograph: Will Baxter Beer gardens are fairy-lit outdoor pubs where local men go to relax after work. Uy said the man went further than purchasing virgins for his immediate pleasure — he "reserved" younger girls for the future. You have to look at the whole picture. Cambodian parents love their children as much as anyone, says Nget Thy, director of the Cambodian Center for the Protection of Children's Rights. Where to begin unravelling the shadowy, painful layers of Uy and Chamnan's story? Dara gives me the name of a Cambodian politician who is still in office. She wasn't happy about going with the man, but she told me she understood. They are mothers, fathers, friends and neighbours. When I told him yes, he used even more force. Dishonesty aside, the greatest pitfall of her fraudulence was not so much that it misrepresented the scale of the problem. In the evenings all over Phnom Penh, the sound of plaintive Khmer love songs leaks into the darkness, feedback and all, from their giant speakers. With the little money left over from her ordeal, she had returned to Kandal province and found a job in a government garment factory making underwear. Mu Sochua has never been a member of the CPP. Its clients are influential Cambodian men and other members of Asia's elite who enjoy total impunity from a corrupt justice system. She saw more than 50 young women being purchased, "like they were delicious food". I asked Uy if I could meet Chamnan, who is now 22, but it wasn't possible. The beer gardens are popular with men looking for virgins. Does she resent that Uy's grand plan didn't materialise? But there are many interwoven social factors. But sex work is not only criminalised under the law, leaving those who do it by choice or lack of it vulnerable to official abuse, it also brings deep social shame. Somaly Mam , a self-styled former sex slave and Cambodia's most famous anti-trafficking campaigner, was forced to resign in disgrace from the US-based foundation that bears her name.
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Slave Markets , Now and Then / A Metaphor
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