The sex trade in cambodia

"They look her in the eye."A year later, I met Sreypov again.A smiling, chubby-cheeked 18-year-old, she greeted me with a giant hug and giggled out a "Hello, how are you? In her shiny pink raw-silk dress, she looked as if she'd discovered she had the right to exist.Still I wondered: Could she ever really get over her painful past? From the air, Cambodia looks like it's drowning in mud.It's monsoon season, and we swoop through coal-black clouds, then hit the runway in Phnom Penh with a jarring boom.On the ground, my taxi plows through flooded roads that are more like rivers, clogged with motorized rickshaws.Down a narrow dirt lane in the middle of the city, up a winding flight of stairs, Sreypov, now a sparkly young woman of 20, sits in the room where she lives.The walls are mostly bare, except for a big green plastic clothes-hook in the shape of a smiling bug.A Tom and Jerry comforter tops her bed; there's a framed photo on her desk showing friends on a motorbike, including a girl missing an eye.

They catch her and throw her into a filthy, cockroach-infested room. At age 10, she managed to break free of the brothels and start a new life.She knows what will happen next: She will be tortured—whipped with metal cables, locked in a cage, shocked with a loose electrical wire—and then gang raped. When she was 7 years old—an age when most girls are going to slumber parties—she was sold to a brothel in Phnom Penh, Cambodia's capital city, to work as a sex slave. For years, pimps forced Sreypov to have sex with as many as 20 men a day. Today, she's ready to tell her story, talking openly about her enslavement and escape, and about coming to terms with her dark past. More than 12 million people are now victims of forced prostitution and labor across the world.If she didn't meet her quota, or if she tried to run away, she was punished in unthinkable ways—burned with a hot poker, covered with biting insects. The buying and selling of humans is a billion global business, according to the U. State Department's 2009 Trafficking in Persons Report.What kind of person sells her own daughter into slavery?In Cambodia, a deeply poor, corrupt nation still reeling from the bloody genocide perpetrated by the Khmer Rouge regime in the '70s, it's someone especially desperate.

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I first met Sreypov three years ago when she visited the U. Seventeen years old at the time, she was so shy, she could barely look up at the people she met.

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