“If you want beautiful hair, let a child’s fingers touch it everyday”
Cambodia or usually often called Kampuchea, Cao Mien, touches at its border with 10 provinces and towns of Vietnam, starting from Kontum to Kien Giang. It’s the land of pagodas and mystic monuments and flamboyant rich cultural traditions… but behind at some unexpected locations and closed doors, terrible crimes happened and are still happening.
Just pass the border, every bus do often stop at a nearby inn. Any round trip buses between two countries always come to a stop at this inn for lunch, dinner; its owner and waiters can speak only English and Khmer, occasionally Vietnamese. Dollar, Piaster and Riel are used here or combination of 3 acceptable. In average, an item costs 3 dollars, present rate of exchange is 1 dollar for approximately 4000 riel. Not used to eat alone, I bought a sandwich for 1 dollar with some thin strokes of butter on it and the climbed back to my bus seat waiting for moving into the land of Pagodas and Towers.
It’s the same picture of skinny and hungry children street sellers as in Vietnam with a sole difference of merchandise such as crickets, scorpions, centipedes… crispy fried. I imagined children in America (original Vietnamese included), they have everything, well fed in family embraces, but some still minors like to conduct a life of bad acts, its worth to be blamed.
Bus continued to roll again. Mostly residences in Cambodia are constructed on poles or wooden sticks, pointed bent roofs at both ends, wooden balcony, along pagoda type, or alike huge roofed altar or temple, some plant bougainvillea very familiar in Vietnam.
Looking at immense fields along side the road, I reminded over land crossing border escape journey of Vietnamese in 70s, 80s of the last century to reach refugee asylum camps in Thailand.
There were innumerable sufferings that happened on trip to Freedom by foot, how many were raped and killed by Red Khmer soldiers? And now another disaster fell upon children in age of playing with dolls were sex abused all over provinces in Cambodia, not merely in Siem Reap.
My memory was still vivid with participation to volunteer activities of late actress Audrey Hepburn whose beauty over passed time, had stirred up hearts that throbbed until present.
Los Angeles Time once painted her as “a super star with ever young and innocent face”. Audrey Hepburn was Voluntary Ambassador for UNICEF helping needy children in Africa, South America till Asia… until her death in 1993.
James Grant, director of UNICEF noted her pass away as “a tragic loss, irreparable to her family, friends and children all over the world and UNICEF”.
When questioned by William Holden: What is your secret for your beauty? Audrey Hepburn answered reciting a poem “Time Tested Beauty Tips” of Sam Levenson:
I had witnessed these beauty traits in female volunteers working under VOICE banner in Siem Reap where Vietnamese children needed their attention and care and career orientation not to fall into local disguised brothels. Simply in 2001-2006, human trafficking in Vietnam raised to 60%. Since strong growth of this trade so thousands of women and children became sex or labor slaves, the world had tried helping Vietnam to cope with this tragedy.
In 2004 UN helped Vietnam through a project aiming of solving children trade into Cambodia. In 2007, American government transferred nearly half million of dollars to put in motion the project of anti human trafficking in provinces of the Mekong River Delta. This project was funded by the International USADB and realized by Asian Fund. In the realm of the project the IUSADB working with Vietnam Educational Development Institute and Community Study Center System to push forward activities of education, safe immigration in 2 provinces of An Giang and Can Tho.
The program provide knowledge and technical skills to students and youth in helping them avoid schemes of human trafficking in their process of applying for jobs or taking caution to away from home marriage proposals. Investigations had showed that most of victims traded from Vietnam to Southeast Asian countries followed route crossing border, in particular Cambodian, Thailand and Red China in service of the sex industry, among them 1/3 were young girls.
In a report of 2008 from the USA, the most country put a great concern on the world human trafficking; Vietnam was listed in the countries that need more efforts to wipe out this problem. Before that, Washington had called for Hanoi strives much more in prosecution and sentence, regardless of criminals were foreigner or inland officials.
So far UN position is that justice offices of concerned countries need to communicate to each other and trade information between them and at the same time have to stop giving immunity to organizations, individuals that exert this kind of trade, whenever crime strings would be discovered.
Every year thousands of women and children are duped to be sold, carried from countryside across frontier and into Cambodia for brothels. Solely in Oct. 2004, Cambodian Royal Police had cracked 26 trading routes, liberated 72 women, 44 were Vietnamese. They had warned that: Strongly swept, present human Traffickers active in Cambodia are changing direction from Vietnam by making temporary stop or transit then shipping them into 3rd countries as Red China, South Korea…
Statistics from Cambodia Licadho Human Rights Organization published: 20% visitors to this country had intention of enjoy of sex here and unfortunately most of them were looking for sex child. It may say that human trading for sex, especially children, had attainted red warning limit. It’s a great imminent danger that the Royal Police had to set up an anti human trafficking and teens safeguarding special force of 40 well experienced male/female police agents with ability of infiltrating human trade groups. This is a special project of Royal Police led by the former French inspector general of French national Police all equipped with combat gears funded and supplied by the English Embassy in Phnom Penh.
However what are the results? Unimaginably it’s them the Cambodia Police rescued and then after returned victims to brothels.
It’s not any bit better on Vietnam side. The UN anti drugs and crimes Agency disclosed that most of Vietnam human trade criminals are residents of the country and most of ring leaders are women. Number of unearthed rings and prosecuted criminals in Vietnam are still modest, and hasn’t changed much since 2006, while victims’ number grows fast.
Only in 2005, 2000 girls were sold to Cambodia brothels; among them, 80% Vietnamese, but arrested criminals of this trade were under 300 and prosecuted only above 60% and two years later this number even went down, not reaching 50%.
Sex Tour (Tourism with main purpose f seeking sex) is regarded as a profitable business in expansion over the world. Many countries become destinations for customers who go out in search of satisfying their evil pervert sexual inclination as Cambodia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, Mexico and Central America.
ECPAT, a NGO anti prostitution and children trade predicts there would be more than 1 million children on the world lured to selling sex every year. This situation gets worse day by day and dangerous in Asia, due to men’s belief in longer life thanks to teen sexual relations.
According to Frans van Dijk, an independent specialist of Holland Rescue Group, Terre Des Hommes, more than 70,000 children in whole Asia were abused by sex tourists. Most of victims are Cambodians, Indonesians, Philippines and Thais. He declared off record in a Conference on Southeast Asia Child Sex Tour on March 19, 2009 that number of children employed in sex tour industry grew up day by day; victims and their parents, in general, often felt involuntary to accuse abuses due to pride and confusion or monetary compensation for silence.
Specialist Irwanto of the Indonesian Organization for Preventing Child Sex Abuse concluded that children were prepared for prostitution due to financial motives like paid tuition fees for example. In areas infested by natural disasters like earthquakes, floods and storms, children are very well in danger to be victims in great number; it’s worse for orphans who lose both parents.
Specialists also agreed conformably with assessment that nowadays Internet is very in use as an effective marketing tool for this human trade business; it would be an appropriate factor for the sex tour expansion. Web pages provide to child sex searchers contain full sexual pictures recorded or copied by sex tour customers. Moreover, sex tour organizers of this sort dare to publish on internet their sex guide books.
An official admitted what he’d seen on child sex webs were of very bad taste, disgusting and execrable. And he couldn’t believe man would do such barbaric acts.
Tourists looking for child sex for their mean pleasure could be of any class of income, walks of life, even doctors and engineers… all respectable people and from any direction of the world, European, North American and Asian countries.
Pervert Europeans like to look for sex children outside of their residential countries, because they’re unknown over there and not subjected to limitations of their inland familiar ethics and attitudes. For some Asians with distorted psychological orientation
They believe in longevity if bodily incorporated with a young girl!
Preventive efforts of child sex abuse are going into a dead end, due to strong push to expand international tourism from concerned governments; they keep their eyes half open.
Up until now international community could not expect much from countries which are target destination of sex tour schedules in protecting rights of children victims. Many countries have to rely on themselves for action taken. For example America, many proposals that promote prosecution stronger and broader imposed upon its citizens involved in sex child with foreign children.
When questioned that
Aaron Cohen, a special analyst of international human trade problems said:
(Quote of Aaron Cohen, NTY)
While my heart was being disturbed by such sad news and reports, the bus arrived at 2:30 PM at the ferry dock Neakloeung with scenery not different from the one in South Vietnam plains at ferry points of My Thuan or Can Tho. The bridge that jumps over Bassac River entering into the south of the city bears the name of Monivong, but Saigon by popular usage. For its explanation of this special naming, a Cambodian guessed that after decades of internecine, when inner troubles explode, residents of Phnom Penh rush to Saigon and Monivong Bridge would be the sole exit from Phnom Penh to Saigon and that why it bears that name.
Another said that inhabitants along the river banks are of Vietnamese origin so that Saigon should be easily accepted by the mass. After Saigon Bridge the bus went onto the Monivong Blvd.; the biggest highway that runs from North to South city. Monivong Bridge is named after the Cambodian King in the 40s of the previous century.
At around 4 in the evening, the bus stopped at Phnom Penh, the capital of the country, its last stop. Tropical summer heat not less than 40 C degrees and stolen innocence were awaiting me there.