Date: summer 2004
Place: Phnom Penh, Cambodia
meeting place: Sharkys bar
Clients: Western Foreigners
Clients age group: up to 35 years
I met Tha in one of the freelance prostitution bars in Phnom Penh a hot day in August 2004.
I wanted to meet the real life of the Cambodian sex trade. She, Tha, was a hard, cool and cocky 19 year old Vietnamese girl. At first when she started to talk with me she of course hoped to cash in some US dollars for the night, but as longer we sat and talked I could see that she took intresst in my idea. The idea was basically to follow her steps for at least the 3 upcoming days.
In the beginning sha was professional at talking bad about everyone except herself and the pride of Vietnamese girls working in Cambodia. She fared my questions about her life (deeper feelings in life). She just waved with her hand and said "not interesting, my life no problem"
As the talks got more relaxed over the hours and days to come she started to realize that I didn´t want to buy her body, and she started to treat me more like a friend and gave me more trust.
She took me shopping, opened the door for me just after finishing with a costumer, had dinner, talks about the future.
She told me that her mother was the pushing part in her family to start selling herself. It was because they were poor and her older sister already got married and took care of her own family. So then Tha needed to take care of father and mother.
She was Illegally brought into Cambodia through southern most point border between Vietnam and Cambodia the trip took over two days on scary roads controlled buy Cambodian border pirates and only sitting on the back of a small motorbike.
She told me about her scar that sat cruel on her lower leg.
-"It was the mafia or pirates I don´t know, they wanted to fucky, fucky, becuase I go there road they were 2 or 3 I cannot remember, they hit me very hard dragged me on the ground and had sex with me long time."
That is the price she had to pay to get inside Cambodia.
-"My mother told me I had to sell my self in Cambodia, because no one there know where I come from and then I don´t bring shame to my family."
-"The most guys from Europe are nice to me, but some are very bad and hit me and rape me, but they always pay and I cannot get help I don´t have any passport and the police don´t care. I try to stay away from the police because many of my friends often get raped or robbed by the police, money I had to give them a few times but not my body, Yet"
I went to many bars with Tha around Phnom Penh. Some were like Sharkys a bit more classy on the outside looking in it will say. Some bars had lines with scattered children prostitutes outside. I asked Tha: -"What about the children? who are they?"
-"they are fucky, fucky too they are very young u can see, u like?"
I looked at those scary small children, filled with fear and anxciaty. One girl there was Vietnamese too she told Tha (who translated for me).
-" I am from Vietnam but I don´t know where, I am 11 years old, My mother need help she works not far away from here with sex too. We need the money."
The days I spent with Tha in phnom penh made me reflect even more over the thing I stand for. It´s never any excuse to use anyones body for personal use "just because u say so!"
But the sex trade situation in South east Asia is very complexed and so many people are involved that it almost impossible to stop. I can only take my own stand and say that we don´t accept it, we don´t need it!
And major pressure have to be put on the leaders of these countrys.