Monday, 16.6.2008: Female Sex Workers and AIDS Activists Voice Concerns over New Law

Posted on 17 June 2008. Filed under: Week 565 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |


Apologies for the delayed posting – I am in a hospital, and therefore some delays in editing may happen also during the next days.

Norbert Klein

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 565

“On 15 February 2008, Cambodia implemented its new law to curb down human trafficking and sexual exploitation. This law aims to punish criminals who traffic humans and commit sexual exploitation, in order to protect human dignity and human rights, to promote the values of proper customs and traditions of the country, and in order to comply with the protocol of the United Nations on these problems. Article 23 of this law defines Prostitution a having sexual intercourse with an unspecified person or other sexual conduct of any kind in exchange for any value.’

“However, entertainment workers, sex workers, and AIDS activists voice concerns about this law. A 36-year-old female sex worker of a brothel in Sihanoukville, the resort and international seaport, said, ‘I had never heard of the law talking about sexual exploitation, and if it is true, I think that it is a severe problem for us. I agree that sex work undermines Khmer culture and Khmer women’s reputation, but we have no choice.’ Sreyrath, who is a widow with four children, and who has been working as a sex worker nearly 10 years, said that she and her friends do not want to do such work, but it is because they are poor and illiterate. And Rath was trafficked to work as a prostitute in Thailand in the late 1990s; she used to use drugs as well. She said, ‘We are sex workers because of poverty and of the social situation which forces us to do this job. The leaders should understand our situation.’

“Poverty and the lack of skills seem to be significant factors hindering the social progress for women. Most of the interviewed women said their husbands died, and the big burden fell on them, especially it is really difficult for those who have children. For instance, as 27-year-old widow with three children, working in a restaurant said, ‘I do not want to go out to sleep with men, but since my husband died, I have no one else to depend on. I have no skill to find another job. Sleeping with one guest one night, I can get US$30, sometimes, US$100. If the law is adopted and it is the implemented seriously, I think it will be very difficult for us. We do not know what other job else could do.’

“According to Cambodia’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Dermatology and Sexually Transmitted Diseases, the number of women who do sex work regularly is approximately 3,430, and 13,723 do it occasionally. The organization KHANA with cooperating partner organizations provides knowledge and information on HIV and Sexually Transmitted Diseases’ prevention to 1,568 regular sex workers and to 4,715 occasional sex workers.

“Anter Nita, Director of the Sihanoukville-based. Community United for Development [CUD], said if the new law will be enforced strongly; sex workers, especially those at present at brothels, will do clandestine work .

“Nita added, ‘My organization has regularly educated sex workers to help them to protect themselves from infection from AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Diseases, teaching them methods to persuade guests who want to force them to have sex without condoms, and teaches them methods to find good services for their health care. Our present program ‘One hundred percent condom use’ and the education programs for preventing diseases among sex workers will be affected, if they work clandestinely.’ According to reports from some local non-government organizations, police of some provinces warn owners of Karaoke parlors and of bars that they will be fined, if condoms are found in their places. These reports shows that since the implementation of this law started, some brothels have been closed, and people dare not to talk or to put condoms openly.

“Sreyrath said, ‘I would like to suggest that the law should not penalize women who are sex workers, otherwise we will have no means to feed ourselves. We really do not want work as sex workers, but we have no other jobs. Moreover, with this law sex workers will move around and continue to do sex work with no definite places to stay, and they cannot receive education about AIDS.’” Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1668, 15-16.6.2008

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 16 June 2008


Chouy Khmer, Vol.2, #120, 16.6.2008

  • Co-prosecutor of the [Khmer Rouge] Tribunal Plans to Detain Three More Former Khmer Rouge Leaders [whose name have not been mentioned, but they are known holding positions of Generals of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces, now living in Oddar Meanchey]
  • Siem [Thai] Police Posted Chea Ratha’s Portraits Everywhere to Trace Hewr Down and Hand Her Over to Khmer Authorities to Be Prosecuted [over the acid attack on Ms. In Soklida’s aunt]
  • President of the Kampuchea Krom Khmer Association Thach Ngoc Thach Continues Plan to March to Kampuchea Krom [to urge Vietnam to respect human rights]


Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1668, 15-16.6.2008

  • Female Sex Workers and AIDS Activists Voice Concerns over New Law
  • While Prices of Fuel Increase, the Measure of the Liter [seems] Declining [this is a suspicion expressed by moto-taxi drivers]
  • Thailand Prohibits the Import of Rice from Cambodia through Border Crossing [Battambang]


Khmer Amatak, Vol.9, #591, 16.6.2008

  • The Editor-in-Chief of Moneaksekar Khmer [Mr. Dam Sith] Was Released on Bail by the Court in Response to a Letter of Guarantee by Prime Minister Hun Sen [15 June 2008]
  • Yuons [Vietnamese] Say Although They Do Not Vote, the Cambodian People’ Party Still Wins


Koh Santepheap, Vol.41, #6372, 16.6.2008

  • Tuberculosis Program Is Strengthened by following the Anti-AIDS Programs


Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #3487, 16.6.2008

  • [Opposition party president] Mr. Sam Rainsy Calls for Members of the Cambodian People’s Party Who Care for the Nation and for Justice to Join the Sam Rainsy Party


Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4616, 15-16.6.2008

  • World Bank Provided Loans and Grant Aid Worth US$41.5 to Cambodia [for road construction and for the distribution of land to the poor – 13 June 2008]
  • Biological Diversity Treaty [to conserve and reduce the destruction of biological diversity and natural resources] held in June 2008, Focusing on the Financial Mechanism [at the city of Bonn/Germany [191 countries participating, Germany providing US$500 to the biological preservation fund]
  • Construction Site of a Bridge Crossing Tonle Sap River at Prek Pnov [worth US$42,550,520 to be implemented by L.Y.P Group Company of Oknha Ly Yong Phat] Will Be Opened Today
  • Woman Was Robbed, Hit with a Gun, while Leaving the Olympic Market, and a Box Containing More than US$30,000 Was Taken


Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.15, #3334, 15-16.6.2008

  • The National Election Committee Prints Twenty Four Different Ballots for the National Fourth Term Election

Have a look at the last editorial – press freedom was strongly under threat

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[…] Monday, 16.6.2008: Female Sex Workers and AIDS Activists Voice …“On 15 February 2008, Cambodia implemented its new law to curb down human trafficking and sexual exploitation. This law aims to punish criminals who traffic humans and commit sexual exploitation, in order to protect human dignity and … […]

[…] The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 565 ???On 15 February 2008, Cambodia implemented its new law to curb down hhttps://cambodiamirror.wordpress.com/2008/06/17/monday-1662008-female-sex-workers-and-aids-activists-…Jacobsen Construction Company, Inc. Company Directory of Human …Jacobsen construction Company, […]


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