Search This Blog

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Easy currency: Poverty and abuse in Cambodia's 'virginity trade'

The Independent

Danet* is fourteen, and lives in a house built on wooden stilts, with no walls, and only tarpaulin for shelter. There are eleven of them who live in the family home, next to a mosquito-infested pond in a poor, rural community in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. She loves to read fairy tales but she frowns a lot and her eyes have a haunted gaze.

At the age of ten, she was locked in a guesthouse bedroom for days, at the mercy of a British paedophile. Her mother sold her for a week for $750.

Her virginity was part of the allure, but surely that is irrelevant. This was a child sold by her parents to be raped by a sex offender. Unfathomable.

Danet describes Michael Leach - her convicted abuser, a former government advisor - as “big and cruel looking”. She says: “He didn’t look nice, he looked strange.”

The 54 year old is now serving a twelve year jail sentence, so she is less afraid to talk about him.

“I hope he stays put away forever,” she says.

Selling her virginity - her innocence - was a way to feed nine children and pay their debts. Danet's father earns $5 a day as a motorbike taxi driver and fruit seller.

Her mother was approached and coaxed into the deal by a “broker”, a local driver, who worked for Leach to appease his urge to abuse minors.

“My mother took me there on the first day. The next, my father drove me there. I didn’t want to go but I had to, for my family.”

A mother and a father escorted their child to be raped.

“I couldn’t understand what he was saying, but I understood his body language and that he wanted me to take my clothes off. I’m not angry at [my mother]. We are poor and in debt. That’s why she did it to me." 

Read more

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...