Sex workers cambodia

But the majority of sexual exploitation of children is of adolescents, and that's taking place in commercial sex venues." The abusers would often be local, situational offenders, he says.Research suggests some of the Asian perpetrators are "virginity seekers," for whom health-related beliefs around the supposedly restorative or protective qualities of virgins factor into their interest in child sex.As one of the most disadvantaged neighborhoods in one of Asia's poorest countries – nearly half the population lives on less than per day -- the poverty in the settlement is overwhelming.The residents are mostly undocumented Vietnamese migrants, many of whom live in ramshackle houseboats on the murky Tonle Sap River, eking out a living farming fish in nets tethered to their homes. The river is fickle, the tarp-covered houseboats fragile.Like other local mothers CNN spoke to, she blames poverty for her decision to sell her daughter, saying a financial crisis drove her into the clutches of the traffickers who make their livelihoods preying on Cambodian children."It was because of the debt, that's why I had to sell her," she says.The local sex industry sweeps up both children from the neighborhood -- sold, like Kieu, by their parents – as well as children trafficked in from the countryside, or across the border from Vietnam.

Don Brewster, a former pastor from California, is the founder and director of Agape International Missions, an organization dedicated to rescuing and rehabilitating the victims of child trafficking in Cambodia and smashing the networks that exploit them.

"But for me, I feel very bad." The men who abuse the children of Svay Pak fit a number of profiles.

They include pedophile sex tourists, who actively seek out sex with prepubescent children, and more opportunistic "situational" offenders, who take advantage of opportunities in brothels to have sex with adolescents.

UNICEF estimates that children account for a third of the 40,000-100,000 people in the country's sex industry.

Svay Pak, a dusty shantytown on the outskirts of the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh, is at the heart of this exploitative trade.

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