She’s been spending her free time working with ECPAT (End Child Prostitution, Abuse and Trafficking in Cambodia), researching and raising awareness about child prostitution in Cambodia.
While Cambodia is an amazing place to live and travel, with a unique, fascinating and beautiful culture, child prostitution is an unfortunate blemish on the region. Melissa’s research brings to light some disturbing statistics, but with organizations like EPCAT working hard to raise awareness about the issue, there is hope that better days lie ahead.
It’s great to hear from someone like Melissa who is taking advantage of her time working abroad to do some productive good for the community in which she is living. Check out an excerpt from her article below, and see the link to the full post for more information about how you can help EPCAT raise awareness for this very important issue.
“For the past few weeks, I have been conducting research for the NGO ECPAT Cambodia (End Child Prostitution, Abuse and Trafficking in Cambodia.) In doing so, I have learned so much about the country, the sex trade and the government – most of which is very disturbing.
The existence of a prominent sex trade in Southeast Asia is relatively well known throughout the world. The stereotypical image of an Asian sex worker is a pretty, thin Asian woman, working under the guise of a masseuse or karaoke worker. Sadly, this is the reason why many Westerners choose the region as a vacation destination. It is easy to identify many of these “sexpats:” the ones I have had the misfortune to meet are old, fat, unattractive white men walking through the city with remarkable, leering confidence, arm in arm with a pretty, young Khmer woman.
But what most of the world doesn’t know is how high the percentage of child prostitutes is. Every year for the past 5 years (and probably beyond this,) the percentage of reported child trafficking victims has hovered at around 75% of all victims. Equally as alarming are the rape statistics: roughly 72% of reported rape victims are children.
Check out the full article here.