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The Sex Trade
Transcript of The Sex Trade
By Somaly Mam
after the rape somaly attempted to drown herself but she no matter how hard she tried she'd float. When she got home her grandfather beat her for being late. About a month later he married her off to a soldier for money. it was as if she traded one master for another, her husband raped her and beat her frequently when he was around and she had to cook for him and follow his every command. he would frequently leave for missions and on one occasion when he went to the border he never came back. two months later her grandfather came and then...
Final Thoughts/ The way out
This book was an experience that opened my eyes to the outside world and what goes on when no one is really watching, specifically prostitution. Movies have demonstrated how much of an evil thing prostitution is but this book held nothing back and showed it too be even worse than I initially thought. You hear that its nearly impossible to get out of prostitution but this book actually shows why. This was a truly inspiring story of a person who came from less than nothing, to become a successful person who
makes a difference in the lives of
Somaly Mam was born in 1970 in a small phnong village in Cambodia called Bou Sra and grew up during the khmer rouge regime. she was abandoned by her parents after she was born and left with her grandmother, who quickly abandoned her too. She lived in the forest by herself among the trees and only slept in a home when a man named taman let her into his home. when she was 10 he gave her to a fellow muslim that he called grandfather( a term of respect) because he said he'd bring her to her family however...
A way out?
On one occasion Somaly made an attempt to escape from the brothel during her early years in the brothel. She had met a man who had become a regular customer of hers at the brothel who claimed that he loved her and he wanted to marry her. when coming back from meeting a client she didn't go back to the brothel to rendezvous with the man. He took her to the truck station where he lied that they should go to poipet on the border of thailand and put them on a truck to battambang where he promised to meet her and the girl with her. In reality he sold them to the truck driver who then proceeded to rape them. She managed to escape them and found the relatives of her adoptive mother, a wife and husband. She had thought she could stay there but after the wife went on a short trip the husband raped her and told her not to tell his wife or he'd burn her with acid he used to clean gold.after a week o this he let her gold and gave her a gold necklace and gold to get back to the city of the brothel phnom penh. when she got back to battambang she was stopped by the man's wife and was thrown in jail, where she was raped by the cops and then released. She had lost all her faith in the world and had nowhere to go. She took a taxi to the city however the taxi driver drove her to the central market where she was sent back to the brothel. when she was 17 her grandfather became ill and soon died, however she still needed to pay off his debts before she was free.
Her "Grandfather" turned out to be an abusive man who'd use her his whole life. He brought her to the small vilage of Thlok Chhrov, where she became his domestic servant. He sold her slave labor to the townspeople to pay all of his living expenses. Most of the town people hated her because of her dark skin and called her racial slurs except for one man, the village school teacher mam khon who turned out to be her father's brother, adopted her and gave her an education. When somaly's body began to develop her grandfather started to molest her, and when
he was in debt to a merchant he sold him
when somaly was 19 She met a humanitarian worker named Dietrich who introduced her to the modern world and its luxuries like showers indoor plumbing, eating utensils, fine dining and beds which at this point didn't exist in most parts of Cambodia. When he left Cambodia he had his friend Guillame, who was also Swiss and spoke no Khmer, to look after her. He brought her to the Alliance Francaise and to a party where she met her future husband Pierre who would help her start a new life and an organization for women in need, AFESIP. in 1993 somaly and Pierre got married and moved to France, where somaly built herself up, gave her self-confidence, and learned real medical practices. Since she had been to france and was married to a respectable white foreigner and was a french citizen she would recieve more respect in cambodia. When they arrived she and pierre would begin to work at Medecins sans frontieres. somaly worked in the section for sexually transmitted diseases, where one day she had a prostitute come in and she saw how her colleague treated her and right then and there she knew what she needed to do.
She started by telling Pierre to request that
the head of MSF provide her with soap and condoms to be given to the prostitutes, however he drew the line on asking for soap. She bought soap and brought the supplies to the supplies to the prostitutes in the area (kratie). There she met a prostitute with her nipple torn off by a client and she quickly brought her to the hospital. She started bringing more and more prostitutes to the MSF. she began to become attached to the prostitutes she encountered and wanted to do all she could for them. she started to help them escape and initially sent them to a women in sambo who would teach them a trade,
Breaking the Brothels
Initially AFESIP was met with apprehension as the humanitarian organizations didn't know that prostitution even existed in cambodia, but after somaly opened their eyes to what was really there they began to funded her without question. the organization grew and she was able to build numerous homes for the girls she has saved and has turned their lives around for the better. She shelters the girls and teaches them a trade until age 18 when they try to find their way in the world although they are frequently monitored so they don't end up as prostitutes. They are taught to take care of themselves, and become self-reliant while improving their self image.
Role of women and children
The rights of a human being are repeatedly questioned throughout the story. When women are sold into prostitution, against their will, they lose all of their rights as a human being. they are tortured until they are mentally broken. if they don't meet the standred they are killed in inhumane ways, they have nails hammered in thier heads, they are drowned in sewers, they are electrocuted, starved, tortured or shot. those that escape usually die within a year from diseases they contracted from clients or go crazy from the traumatic experiences they had, that will haunt them for the rest of their lives. Most would find this appalling and it should be stopped but, there are thousands maybe millions of men around the world that use prostitutes, making it a very profitable industry. why would they want to give away their livelihood, in their eyes prostitution does more good then harm, the people they hurt aren't important and wouldn't do anything with their lives anyway, plus they were in debt, they deserved what they were given.
The role of women and young girls in cambodian society are questionable, and their treatment would be seen by outsiders as cruel and unjustice but to native cambodians of the time it seemed natural and no one really questioned it; it was tradition. young girls from the time their born are destined to a life of servitude. Girls are entitled to do whatever their father asks of them, and are the property of their parents, to do whatever they want with them for their benefit. If your family is in debt you owe it too your parents to sell your body to pay it off no matter how long it takes. the problem with this is that they will continuously acquire more debt while the girl is in the brothel, and the girls time there is further extended. If the girl manages to pay off this debt no one will except her back and she will be shunned by society as a "broken women" and won't be given the oppurtunity to redeem her sanctity or even be able to get a normal job. the only place tat will accept her now, is the very place she despises the brothel, unless she can find a rich man to accept her and free her from this prison. sadly the chances of that are extremely low.
he sold her to a woman known as aunty Nop, who had her work in a brothel owned by her associate aunty Peuve. She was forced to work here until she managed to pay off all of her grandfather's debts, during which she was raped by numerous men who also beat her if she either resisted them, they were drunk or just didn't like her because of her darkskin.
Among these men was aunty Peuve's husband Li and the guards of the brothel, who would frequently rape the girls as punishment. day in and day out it was the same routine, she slept and washed at aunty nop's apartment, put on makeup and went to the brothels where she was raped and beaten.
If she didn't do what was requested of her or wasn't able to make enough money she was punished in various ways, shocked with a car battery,locked in a room of snakes, whipped and had worms thrown on her until she was mentally broken. This occurred with little interruption for over 2 years, during which she had seen girls come into the brothel become corrupted or killed, she had even seen one of her friends' head shot off with a shotgun because she was
planning to escape.
Some men, particulatly, chinese man would rent them out for a night, where they were raped continously by 20 different men. they couldn't refuse these clients as they were paying customers, like anyone else. Young girls would also be sent to brothels and there virginity is sold five times over, once they're raped they are sewn back up and given anisthetics and then sold again.
During her years of prostitution,
somaly and the other prostitutes lives were
endangered on a daily basis from disease,
mental trauma and abusive clients,
who treat them as nothing
more than disposable garbage.