Cambodian sex workers

26 Nov

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Local police had previously asked neighbours not to report the business, the reported at the time. There are few figures on the number of sex workers in Phnom Penh, much less a record of how many work on the street.Of the five female sex workers interviewed this week by , all had been detained and none was informed of their accused crime.Both the director of the city’s Department of Social Affairs, which runs Prey Speu, and the centre’s chief declined to comment on the current number of sex workers or others currently detained there.Wat Phnom, well-known as a place men go to pay for sex, is a frequent – and sometimes the only – stop on police “roundups” that often end in detention.In the latest street sweep earlier this month, 15 sex workers were picked up in the area.Among those interviewed by And then there is a decision to make: “If there’s no money to give to the police, they will send us to the centre,” says Somaly*, a 36-year-old sex worker.While bars, massage parlours or barbershops often operate as fronts for the sex industry – and usually cater to foreigners in addition to Cambodians – they don’t receive the same treatment from the police.Arbitrary enforcement On the street, the law seems arbitrary.There are bribes, not fines, and some women walk a thin line between existence and “solicitation”.Then, like convicts, she and six other detainees broke a window and climbed out, escaping before dawn.Leakhena returned to the street almost immediately – she couldn’t afford not to. “If I worked as a cleaner in a restaurant, I could not make in a day.” But she abandons her work if she gets a glimpse of the cops.