Photographer's Note

After viewing my yesterday post, Nhat Huy feedbacked, “I can feel the dangerous hidden behind those dark rat-holes. And what can we do to help? Or hopeless?”

I hope this humble shot of Svay Pak and the below quote would give him some hint of an unspeakable answer.

One thing that can be guaranteed as we learn about any country is that there are the great and interesting as well as the evil and inexcusable things to learn. Cambodia is no different from any other place. I’d like to share about an evil industry that happens to take place in Cambodia:
Sex Tourism. It’s exactly what it sounds like, an industry that provides sex for tourists. There are two basic things that make this industry ‘popular’:

1) poverty that makes it thinkable to sell your kids, or to even have children just to sell them off, so your family will have money to survive.

2) men who take part in this industry: the tourists are from wealthy nations, the USA, Germany, Japan, Korea…. and others AND certainly the brothel owners and police who perpetuate these awful crimes.

Below is an excerpt from a recent newsletter by International Justice Mission. IJM is an organization of Christian Investigators and Lawyers that works to break down international injustice rings. This particular newsletter highlights events in Cambodia, however, there are many other South East Asian cities known for Sex Tourism.

“It was the part of the video footage when men would finally look away in revulsion and women would quietly gasp and involuntarily lift a hand to cover their mouths. Svay Pak, a little village outside Phnom Penh, the capitol of Cambodia, where hundreds of children were brutally being sold on the open market to be raped and molested by sex tourists. In video footage taken by investigators, there was always that moment when the grainy undercover video would finally become clear. It was then that viewers could see that the girl being offered by the pimp was only about six years old.”

“We first heard about Svay Pak nearly 3 years ago from Christian workers in Cambodia who passed along rumors of a small, lawless village of mostly brothels where very young girls were sold for sex in an open market. Initial undercover operations left our investigators (who have daughters of their own) with nightmares, but also with grave concerns about the gunshots they heard in the streets and the reports of top police officials who protected and profited from the brothels.”

“There were at least 15 reasons why tackling Svay Pak just seemed impossible. Cambodian authorities were unmoved for 2 years by our evidence of these atrocities, rumors of police protection for pimps and customers were true…even if we could avoid police tip-off and rescue some girls, who would provide aftercare for so many girls? No one could blame us for being ‘realistic.”

“But what about the girls that we came to know by name? What were we supposed to do about them? Jesus taught that we were to do for them what we would want done for ourselves, or our own daughters.”

The situation near Phnom Penh is different from other similar situations. Even after International Justice Mission offered irrefutable evidence over a two year period, Cambodian officials did not offer legal support or even recognize that there is an actual ‘problem’ of girls as young as six years old being sold on an open market for molestation and rape. After IJM gathered evidence against specific pimps and traffickers and identified a senior police commander who ‘cashed-in’ by protecting the child molestation business, American diplomats took up the cause with Cambodian authorities and urged vigorous cooperation with IJM.

This point marked some of the most intense moments in IJM’s history… local organizations stepped forward in faith to provide after care and counselors for the girls… Then they waited. After two intense years of prayer and work by IJM and others, Cambodian police officers, nearly 80, were deployed to this effort.

These officers rescued 40 girls out of the brothels including nine between the ages of five and ten. A dozen perpetrators were immediately arrested and now sit in prison facing prosecution and more arrest actions are underway. And most miraculous of all: the senior police commander who protected all of this was fired from the police force and is in prison pending prosecution.

(By Cynthia Kramer, Selah Newsletter Sept-2003 and Selah Newsletter Oct-2003)

mikecone, nhathuy, fabianfred marcou esta nota como útil

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Additional Photos by Ngy Thanh (ngythanh) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 471 W: 125 N: 2332] (8458)
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