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Cambodia’s sex workers pay a high price for US policy

Just in time for the International AIDS Conference (IAC), Human Rights Watch has issued a report on Cambodia’s brutal crackdown.

A sex worker describes her detention in Phnom Penh:

“Two days after my arrival, I was caught when I tried to escape. Five guards beat me up. The guard threatened to slit our throats if we tried to escape a second time, and said our bodies would be cremated there.”

How is this a result of US policy, you ask? Cambodia’s government relies on foreign aid, and the US is one of its largest donors. Under pressure from the US, Cambodia passed an anti-trafficking law that additionally criminalized sex work. The police declared open season on sex workers: extreme torture, rape, even deaths in custody. In addition to police abuse, sex workers were unlawfully detained by anti-trafficking NGOs.

Read Melissa Ditmore at RH Reality Check for news from IAC in Vienna and background on the Cambodian situation.


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This entry was posted on 22 July, 2010 by in Uncategorized.
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