Cambodian sex slave story
For the next decade she was shuttled through the brothels that make up the sprawling sex trade of Southeast Asia.Trapped in this dangerous and desperate world, she suffered the brutality and horrors of human trafficking—rape, torture, d Born in a village deep in the Cambodian forest, Somaly Mam was sold into sexual slavery by her grandfather when she was twelve years old.
She is also haunted by the absence of her mother in her life; she has not seen her since she left home as a child.“The sale of virgin girls continues to be a serious problem in Cambodia,” the State Department said in its annual Trafficking in Persons Report released this summer.“Cambodian men form the largest source of demand for child prostitution, though a significant number of men from the United States and Europe, as well as other Asian countries, travel to Cambodia to engage in child sex tourism.” Among local men, demand is often fueled by myths that sex with a virgin brings luck or good health.Trapped in this dangerous and desperate world, she suffered the brutality and horrors of human trafficking—rape, torture, deprivation—until she managed to escape with the help of a French aid worker.Emboldened by her newfound freedom, education, and security, Somaly blossomed but remained haunted by the girls in the brothels she left behind. In 2010 she joined an offshoot of Mam’s foundation called Voices for Change, a group of young slavery survivors who rescue girls from brothels.
The activists gain access to the brothels by bringing supplies such as soap and condoms.
Cambodia “does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking,” the State Department report says, but is making “significant efforts to do so.” Officials reportedly convicted 62 trafficking offenders this past year, an increase from 20 offenders the prior year.
Years had gone by, Loch says, when a client took her out of the brothel to his own home.
Loch saw an opportunity to help the public understand the shadowy world of slavery.
This year she launched her own show, which she now hosts five days a week, interviewing former sex slaves as well as lawyers and legislators.
They look forward to going home and sharing their stories with the rest of the rescued girls.