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Phnom Penh (Ah!) Part 2 - THE GOOD NEWS of The Girls of THE GIRLS OF PHNOM PENH @ the META HOUSE

Many Cambodian virgin girls who are swept into the sex trade are largely from impoverished backgrounds and come from the provinces. They have the burden of being the bread winners when their parents are ill and in need of money to pay for the health care and medicine - The Girls of Phnom Penh screen shot photo


Many of the sex trade workers have no choice about becoming sex workers. Some think they are obligated to do whatever it takes to her their parents - The Girls of Phnom Penh screen shot photo


When a parent informs their daughter that they are in need of medical care and have no money a young girl with little to no education has very few choices in how they can make money to pay the family bills, The Cambodian government is not there to help them - The Girls of Phnom Penh screen shot photo


The protagonists in The Girls of Phnom Penh discussed their chances of being worthy of being married with their prostitute background. One girl felt if a man truly loved them then they would accept their past - The Girls of Phnom Penh screen shot photo


D. J. Ken - National Radio Text Service



When a girl loses their virginity they are scorned and looked down upon. They are viewed as being unworthy of marriage. In the Girls of Phnom Penh the three prostitute friends discussed that situation. They felt they did the right thing in support of their parents selling their virginity - The Virginity Trade and The Girls of Phnom Penh will be screened at the Meta House in Phnom Penh TONIGHT Tuesday October 18.


Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Tuesday October 18, 2011


The documentary The Girls of Phnom Penh had a happy ending with the three young prostitutes (16, 16 & 17 years of age) surviving their predicament. The producer/director Matthew Watson and his production crew raised money to buy out their contract to pay off the girl's debt and they were free at last.

What was not explained in the film is when a girl is sold into prostitution for whatever amount the have to work until the debit is paid off. The girls receive a percentage of their earnings the customer pays. In and ideal situation it's 50%. In bad situations it's less and the brothel owners often cheat the girls by giving them a small percentage or simply give them no credit at all and hold them as prisoners. In many cases the girls aren't aware of what they earn or owe and charges are applied for the food they eat or other items.

Over a 13-year period we've interviewed several of these girls and each had a different sad story. One girl from the provinces got into the business after she obtained a job in Phnom Penh as a waitress in a restaurant. When the owner's wife was away the owner raped the girl. The abuse continued for some time. When the girl informed the wife the wife didn't believe her. The girl eventually left the job and having lost her virginity and self respect and became a freelance prostitute working out of bars.

A decade ago UNESCO produced a play A Wounded Life regarding how poor families from the provinces are tricked into selling their children into the sex trade. The trick in the play was the girl was to marry a wealthy old man. When she was brought to Phnom Penh she was sold off to a brothel.

When a girl loses their virginity they are scorned and looked down upon. They are viewed as being unworthy of marriage. In the Girls of Phnom Penh the three friends discussed that situation. They felt they did the right thing in support of their parents selling their virginity since the money was going towards saving their parents lives. They agreed that if they were to marry that they would tell their husbands of their past and if they truly loved them that they would accept it. They came up with a 5% figure that 5 of 100 males would accept their past ad marry them.

I Cambodia if a girl isn't married by the time they are 25 they are believed to be unworthy. It is tradition that the parents arrange the marriage of their children ad find a worthy husband or wife. The wealthier the family the greater the scrutiny of the others background including their wealth.

After being freed from bondage it was noted in the film's closing credits that the girls were training to become beauticians and remained together as friends watching each others back. Given that the credits note that the film was produced in 2009 as a follow up it would be interesting to see if the girls achieved their goals and became beauticians. In many cases girls return to the sex business as was a case depicted in the documentary Red Light.

At the end of the just short of one hour film there is a request for donations to a web site: www.thegirlsofphnompenh.com

How to purchase the 55 minute 22 second documentary on the DVD or the Internet remains a mystery.

DONORS BEWARE: As we checked to see the status on Google of some of our stories we searched the Virginity Trade. It was listed as our story by National Radio but was linked to You Tube and an unknown by us source. There was a 60 second clip of the Virginity Trade with a request for donations and a link to do so. On that page there are other misleading links to stories that would lead one to believe they are about the sex trade. Most are not. BEWARE OF THIS APPARENT TRICK: The link to that page is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2g07fz48VZI

NOTE: For visitors to Phnom Penh the Meta house is highly recommended for those interested in knowing what the steak is about the region minus the sizzle. It's about the real deal of Cambodia. The Meta House is open Tuesday through Sunday and closed on Monday. Their screenings and activity program for the month is available on their web site: www.meta-house.com

The Meta House

Sothearos Boulevard # 37 Sangkat Tonle Bassac, Khan Chamkarmon - opposite the Phnom Penh Center and Build Bright University.

Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Tel: 023-224-140 & 023 -218-987 & 010-312-233




We are published in five languages, English, Thai, French, Russian and Khmer (Cambodian language). Any of our foreign language material and our Roman Wanderaugh columns are legally available ONLY on our National Radio

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