Cambodian filmmaker Chhay Bora, who debuted in 2010 with “Lost Loves,” has produced a new film that explores the impacts in the country of prostitution and human trafficking. The new film is an attempt to inform Cambodians, especially those in rural areas, about the dangers of sending their daughters to work in Phnom Penh or abroad. “Many people in the rural areas have often been deceived by a small number of people who told them their daughters would work in a restaurant, when in fact they were forced into prostitution,” Chhay Bora told VOA Khmer in a Skype interview. “We want to send them an important message, and that message is that you have to be smart, you have to know who the recruiters really are, where they actually live, and how to contact them,” he said. Families should look for local jobs that may be better than jobs far from home, he said. Another important message of the film is to encourage Cambodians to respect and value the lives of others, and to not purchase young girls at the cost of their future, he said. “We also do not want the world to think of Cambodia as a sex industry,” he said. “We want the world to think that we have a respectful culture and civilization. People should come to visit Cambodia as real tourists, not as sex tourists.” Chhay Bora is currently in the US, attending the Palm Springs International Film Festival to screen “Lost Loves.” (Poch Reasey, Washington)
The United States is looking forward to making sure the US-Cambodian relations grow stronger after the visit of US President Barack Obama to Cambodia in November, according to US Embassy spokesman Sean McIntosh. In a recent interview with VOA Khmer, McIntosh said Obama has decided to make Southeast Asia and Asia a closer partner to the US. “The US core interest is in economic prosperity, stability and security here,” he said. “And I think it also speaks specifically to Cambodia because the United States and Cambodia have just celebrated over 60 years of diplomatic relations.” While some political analysts say the increased US attention to the region is to counter the growing influence of Beijing, McIntosh said the US encourages the economic growth of China.