A Thorn in the Heart: Cambodian Men Who Buy Sex

A Thorn in the Heart: Cambodian Men Who Buy SexPaper presented at “Focus on Men Who Buy Sex: Discourage Men’s Demand for Prostitution, Stop Sex Trafficking” in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, July 17, 2012. Co-hosted by Cambodian Women’s Crisis Center and Prostitution Research & Education.

Executive Summary

We interviewed 133 Cambodian men who had bought sex from adult women in prostitution, with 37% also acknowledging having bought sex from minor girls. Almost all (95%) of the men interviewed for this study stated that children were available for paid sexual abuse in brothels, bars, and massage parlors in Phnom Penh. In order to measure the men’s attitudes and behavior, we used previously validated and standardized questionnaires, and a structured interview, yielding both quantitative and qualitative data. Conducted by a specially trained team of 8 interviewers, the interviews each lasted about 2-3 hours. Most of the men said that they had a wife or girlfriend when they used a woman in prostitution. They reported having many sex partners throughout their lifetime (21% had 21-50 sex partners and 35% had 50 or more sex partners). Prostitution was the first sexual experience of most interviewees, many of them having responded to peer pressure and the need to prove their manhood by using a woman in prostitution.

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