Chanting ‘yum yum’
, the slang for oral sex, girls clamour for attention in a back streets brothel. They are ten years old. “Cambodian men believe that having sex with virgins boosts their sexual appetite, their strength, their integrity,”
explains Mu Sochua, Minister for Women’s Affairs. Sunremita was tricked by her mother into prostitution to make money for her sick relatives. But the proliferation of child prostitutes is down to more than just poverty – rife corruption also compounds the problem. In Svey Pak, police storm a brothel. A few girls are collected, but pimps and owners are left in peace. “For every single hour that [the brothels] operate the police are paid to let them,”
states Sochua. Even when paedophiles are arrested, it seems easy to escape justice. Photos of padlocks locked around the genitals of a 13-year old boy clearly show sexual abuse. But the French national accused walked away from court free, despite photos and the testimony of ten boys. Pol Pot tried deliberately to destroy the family; greed and corruption will hopefully not finish the job.
Produced by ABC Australia