Cambodia: The Virginity Trade

Year
2009
Duration
60 minutes
Location
Cambodia

In Asia there is a line of thought that having sex with a virgin will bestow health, vitality and luck. Virginity cannot be faked, and moreover, there is no risk of contracting HIV. This creates a social demand for young girls that poor families all to often fall prey to. The Virginity Trade follows the story of a 13-year-old girl from the Cambodian countryside that can be sold on the sex market for anywhere up to US $1,200. What's worse, once their virginity is gone these girls are sold on to brothels across Cambodia or over the border in Thailand. In these brothels the young girls are at risk of disease, and if by chance they manage to escape they are subject to social scorn, rejection from her family, and in some cases, imprisonment. Through intimate and revealing interviews, men explain why sex with virgins is so important to them. We hear the stories of those whose lives have been ruined by the virginity trade, and speak to politicians, the police and representatives from NGOs. Can anything be done to end the plight of these girls?

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