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Khmer Women on the MoveExploring Work and Life in Urban Cambodia$
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Annuska Derks

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780824831288

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824831288.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM HAWAII SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.hawaii.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Hawaii University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in HSO for personal use.date: 27 September 2021

Sex Work

Sex Work

(p.88) 5 Sex Work
Khmer Women on the Move

Annuska Derks

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter discusses how the poor conditions in the red-light districts in Phnom Penh have contributed to the image of a “gruesome” sex industry in Cambodia. Western media reports depict Cambodia as a country where the “sex trade” flourishes, and where the associated AIDS epidemic threatens to result in its “next Killing Fields.” While ideas about sex workers as immoral women persist among many Cambodians, images of sex workers as slaves, commodities, and viruses have come to dominate reports on sex work. These reports portray young rural women, anxious to do anything to provide financial support for their families, have become tricked into a life of debt and virtual slavery. The chapter argues that these views reveal more about the moral attitudes of observers than about the daily lives, struggles, and experiences of the workers themselves.

Keywords:   Cambodian sex industry, sex trade, AIDS epidemic, red-light districts, sex workers, young rural women, virtual slavery

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