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Tourism a Boon to Siem Reap Prostitution

In recent years, Siem Reap province, the home of the Angkortemples, has seen its tourism numbers grow beyond 2 million. Luxury hotels, restaurants and entertainment clubs have all grown around this boon. But so has prostitution.

“If you have money, you can find a girl,” a motorcycle taxi driver name Por said recently. Por, who declined to give his full name, finds prostitutes for visiting tourists.

“There are prostitutes in karaoke, in clubs, and she will come out for $30 or $35 for one night’s sleep,” he said.

“The sex business is behind the massage salon,” said another guide who wished not to be named at all.

For the workers, prostitution is an underground industry.

“Most go out [with clients] without showing that we are working directly [in prostitution],” said one worker in a Siem Reap town karaoke club.

Residents here like Mao Yin say the problem is getting worse, and the local government is not doing enough.

“They do not take action frequently,” she said. “A lack of action has dishonored our province.”

However, Sun Bun Thang, the head of the provincial counter-trafficking office, acknowledged the problem is increasing, but he said the authorities are doing what they can.

Eight entertainment clubs have recently been closed due to association with the sex trade, he said.

“We have to find evidence before action,” he said. “If we only see karaoke, we cannot identify that place as a brothel.”