Prostitution in Cambodia is illegal, but prevalent. A Cambodian Law on Suppression of Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation  has proven controversial, with international concerns regarding human rights abuses resulting from it, such as outlined in the Human Rights Watch report. It punishes the trafficking of people, the managing of prostitutes and the maintaining of a brothel, as well as soliciting in public and distributing pornography. The mere act of exchanging sex for money is not outlawed. It lobbies for legal and human rights and better working conditions for sex workers and aims to amend the law. Sexual exchange has existed in Cambodia for centuries, but the events of the 20th century created a very unstable situation. During the Khmer Rouge years — prostitution was completely banned and punishable by death resulting in its virtual elimination in a highly authoritarian social system.
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Cambodians have a fairly relaxed attitude about sex. Brothels and sex workers are common sights. Many young people appear to have active sex lives and begin having sex at a relatively young age. Some men visit prostitutes before returning home to their wives.. Condoms are called "Number One" after the best-selling brand. In the early s, authorities warned teenagers not to embrace or have sex in public.
Cambodia's hidden child brothels
V annith Uy is the owner of what translates from Khmer as a "mobile nail salon", although the word salon is a stretch. Three years ago, when she arrived from the countryside, Uy had a different plan. She wanted to open a hair and beauty salon on proper premises in the Cambodian capital.
Cambodia, home of the Angkor Wat, attracts more and more tourists every year with its abundance of art, culture, and natural habitats. Yet, the country also draws visitors for a much darker reason: to have sex with children. Image Credit: Google. Many international organizations are hard at work fighting this problem, but it is important to think about the problem at its root: why are children pushed into prostitution in the first place? Many victims, often girls from poor families with impossible financial burdens, are approached by brothel owners.