Saturday, 12 January 2013


Part Two: Svay Pak’s glimmers of hope (with video)

“Yum yum!  Boom boom!” the chatter of excited young voices leached through the thin door.  I stopped picking the dirt from between my toes and pulled my legs up, wrapping my arms tightly around them.

Rocking back and forth, I prayed that Mamasan would pass by my door.  The old cot creaked.  Leaning back into the corner, a small yelp left my lips when the welts on my back made contact with the cold, brick wall. 

One of the men the night before had been so mean and angry, he left me feeling like my insides were going to fall out.  The night had been busy and most of the men before him wanted boom boom too.  My body throbbed and my head ached.  Showing the blood stained sleeping mat to Mamasan, I refused to see any more clients that night.  Calling a few of the other girls into my room to watch, Madam tied up my arms, flipped me over the bed, pulled up my dress, exposing my back.  Taking an old electrical cord from her apron, she began to whip me.  One.  Two.  Three.  Four.  With each blow, I begged her to stop.

The beating finally over, I struggled to straighten myself. Cold, rough hands pushed me back down. From the corner of my eye I saw her grab the plastic cup next to my bed. Draping my dress across my back, she doused me with water.  For a brief moment, the coolness of the water soothed me, but not for long.

She plugged the exposed electrical cord into the wall next to the bed.  If words could have escaped my lips, I would have begged her to continue whipping me instead, but with each jolt my teeth clenched tight allowing only a scream to release.

A few hours later, one of the girls risked her life to sneak into my room and untie my hands.  She brought a bucket for me to relieve myself, rags to place between my legs, and a fresh glass of water to drink.  With a silent nod of thanks, I crawled into my threadbare bed, not sure if I would live to see the morning.  Not sure if I cared. 

“Yum yum! Boom boom!” the menagerie was right outside my bedroom door now.  The fierce competitiveness of the voices could only mean that a high paying foreigner had come.  They were all so young and still believed Mamasan’s lies.  Not I.  Six rainy seasons had come and gone since I’d arrived in Svay Pak.  Life was hopeless. 

Pulling my legs in even tighter, I held fast to the hope that he would want a younger girl, not someone as old as me. I would be thirteen next week and my scrawny body was beginning to develop, making me less and less desirable.  Burying my face into my knees, I wondered what my parents were doing back in the village.  Did they know what they had done to me?  Did they get enough money from Mamasan to buy Daddy’s medicine?  Would they come and rescue me . . . ever? Did anyone care?

I squinted through the darkness of my room, focusing on the door.  My heart beat faster and faster with each passing second. 

The doorknob began to spin.


Every night, over fifteen-thousand underage children in Cambodia live out this nightmare.  Forced to service 10-20 men a night, many will have had sex with over a thousand men before they even reach puberty.  If they live long enough to reach puberty.

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  1. heart is pounding. This is exceptional. Your words jumped right off the page. I could feel her pain.

  2. Thanks so much. It's tragic .... so impressed with Wellspring and Ratanak. 100%

  3. ... check out what they are doing! Gotta love Canadian Federal employees ...;)