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Saturday, September 15, 2007

Demand for virgins fueling Cambodian sex trade, says IOM

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia -- High demand for virgins from mostly Asian clients is fueling the flow of underage girls into Cambodia's sex trade, the International Organization for Migration has said in a report.

About 38 percent of the women and girls surveyed working in the sex trade here entered the industry by selling their virginity, IOM found, while 85 percent of the clients paying to sleep with them were Asian men.

"The commercial sale of virginity is one of the major routes into commercial sexual exploitation," the group said in a report released earlier this week.

"This trade clearly shapes the patterns of trafficking within Cambodia ... it is arguably the largest factor contributing to entry into commercial sex."

Non-Asian foreigners accounted for nine percent of customers paying for sex with virgins, IOM said, while the other six percent was unknown.

More than half the Asian clients were Cambodian men, with the other half made up of Chinese, Taiwanese, South Korean, Japanese, Thai, and Filipino men.

Most women were 16 or 17 years old when they sold their virginity, and the majority said they entered prostitution willingly. But others told IOM they were tricked by family and friends.

"There was a high use of force and incapacitation through drugs or alcohol at the time of commercial sex," the humanitarian group said.

People were increasingly picking up virgins in high-end karaoke bars, massage parlors, and other entertainment establishments in the country's urban centers, IOM said, whereas before the trade was found mostly in brothels.

IOM surveyed 203 women and girls working in the sex trade in the tourist hub of Siam Reap, the seaside town Sihanoukville and Koh Kong province, which borders Thailand.

Cambodia has struggled to shed its reputation as a haven for pedophiles, putting dozens of foreigners in jail for child sex crimes or deporting them to face trial in their home countries since 2003.
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Cambodia concludes 2nd National Bokator Championship

Cambodia here on Friday concluded the matches of its second National Bokator Championship, which aims to highlight the indigenous Khmer martial art.

More than 200 fighters from all over the country have competed for gold, silver and bronze medals at three levels including 70 kg, 65 kg and 60 kg of weight, at the Olympic Stadium in Phnom Penh from Tuesday to Friday.

Meanwhile, there were also two performing martial art competitions, including martial art with long stick for men and martial art with short stick for woman.

Bo Chum Sary, under-secretary of state of the Cambodian Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, presided over the closing ceremony on Friday and handed over the gold medal to San Sovanara, the winner of the level of 70 kg.

Bo Chum Sary said that this traditional martial art of Cambodia, bokator, is the heritage from their ancestors which carved on the wall of Angkor temples.

The bokator martial art was used in the war in the past and Cambodian people always fought to find the strongest person in village while they were holding traditional ceremonies after the rice harvest, he said.

Currently, there are bokator clubs in 10 out of the 20 strong provinces of Cambodia and no more than 1,000 people have been found playing the craft.

Source: Xinhua
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