Cambodia was renowned as a sex tourism destination in the 1990s and this legacy is still prevalent today with women and girls trafficked within the thriving sex industry in Cambodia's major cities. Despite significant attempts to curb CSE, NGOs report the industry has been pushed underground and sex offenders are still able to purchase sex with children through an intermediary rather than more overt selling of sex in brothels. Boys and young men are also vulnerable to sexual exploitation, with many entering the massage industry due to a lack of training and skills.
Bella was 12 years old when she was trafficked and forced to be a sex worker in Cambodia.
My name is Bella and I’m 21 years old. I was born in Phnom Penh. When I was young, one lady, she tricked me. She said that I go there to her house. I just go to clean her house or prepare her clothes, something like that. And then, after she fit me one or two months, she sell me.
When I was 12 years old. I have been work… I was trafficked, they forced me to go to, to have sex with guys, and I always don’t want to go and she always hit me and blame me. I work there about one month and I really hurt. I want to go away from that place but I cannot go. She send me there, to the house and then have the guy come in like, a day maybe five. They pay like, twenty dollars. And then he do something bad to me. I say no and I cry, and I said, “please let me go”.
She told me that if I escape from her place she will do something to my family. I felt like I was hopeless. I have nothing, no one care about me. No one think that I’m special. And my future. I will die one day. If I still work like that, I will get a disease and I will die. Nothing.
Narrative provided by Project 77