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Meeting Young Sex Workers in Cambodia

Sex Trafficking in Cambodia: Stacey Dooley Investigates (Photo by Fiona Lloyd-Davies)

One of my most memorable trips so far.....Cambodia!

Sex trafficking and prostitution is an issue I've always, always wanted to learn about. I've always found it interesting how often beautiful, lovely girls find themselves in these awful situations. People can sometimes judge sex workers before they really know them or their circumstances...which is a bit naughty really. Surely these girls don't choose to be a prostitute first and foremost, so I decided to discover, first hand, how this all happens.

When I first arrived in Cambodia, I found it very buzzy and very happening. It seemed like quite a cool place and everyone, tourists and locals, seemed to be in good spirits! Lots of posing for photos and thumbs up with lots of glamorous, trendy couples. All good so far.

I'd arranged to meet a girl named Alang. She had been a prostitute since she was 12 years old and her story was just unbelievable. She had had so many devastating things happen to her and she was still only 18. I struggled to believe how people thought they could get away with treating Alang so badly. Alang had been sold, raped, stabbed, forced to take drugs, beaten, abused. Every story she told me seemed to be worse than the last.

Sex Trafficking in Cambodia: Stacey Dooley Investigates (Photo by Fiona Lloyd-Davies)

Stacey Dooley and Alang (Photos by Fiona Lloyd-Davies)

It all started when Alang was 12, and she was told by her aunt that she would be helping her find work. In Cambodia, education is really a luxury and many kids are thrown into work as early as possible. This means they can help support their parents, as often the parents don't even earn a living wage. Alang thought that her aunt would be organising work as a waitress, or maybe a chambermaid. In fact, her aunt was planning to sell her niece to a pimp who would force Alang to sleep with hundreds of men to pay off her aunt's debt. The sex was unprotected and Alang was in danger of contracting HIV and many other sexually transmitted diseases. The clients would often feed her drugs and be violent towards her. She showed me a huge scar on the inside of her leg where one man had stabbed her.

Child Trafficking in Cambodia: Stacey Dooley Investigates (Photo by Fiona Lloyd-Davies)

I was just completely numb and couldn't believe what I was actually hearing. This all started when Alang was only 12! Alang told me that she hated all men and didn't trust anyone. She said the only time men are kind to her is when she wears 'beautiful clothes'. What a heartbreaking thing to think.

As I spent more time with Alang, we became pals. She was actually very funny and towards the end of the trip I felt she had grown to trust me, which was lovely. She would always be trying to sort my huge hair out, brushing it and popping it in fancy ponytails while telling me to keep my head still!

We arranged for Alang to leave the area and support her in following her real passion, hair and beauty. Alang moved cities with her two children, and has been spending time in a women's centre earning her keep by cleaning. She told us she had loved spending time with her kids and felt more calm and rested than she had in years. When Alang feels ready to focus on her hair and beauty, we have promised that we will make sure the course is sorted for her so she can support herself and the kids when she is fully trained.

Sex Trafficking in Cambodia: Stacey Dooley Investigates (Photo by Fiona Lloyd-Davies)

Stacey Dooley and Alang release a bird, a buddhist tradition to release your sorrows. (Photos by Fiona Lloyd-Davies)

Obviously Alang is only one of thousands and thousands of girls who are forced down this route. However, the more we talk about these issues and the more aware we become that this is absolutely going on; the closer we are to being able to tackle things like this. There are people who dismiss any ideas you have about helping but anything has got to be better than doing absolutely nothing....hasn't it?

Fingers crossed :) x

HOW YOU CAN HELP

Here's some information about organisations working with children and women affected by sex trafficking in Cambodia:

  • CWCC: This is the centre featured in the programme where women can stay and they also run training courses, like the hair and beauty course Alang hopes to do. Cambodian Women's Crisis Center website

  • SSF: This is an NGO who try and help girls and their families before they are trafficked. In the programme, I met a young girl and they cycled together to her house. Her mum told me about her debts and how her daughter was approached by a trafficker. SSF Website

  • M'Loptapang: Although we filmed with this organisation, the sequence wasn't used in the end but they do very valuable work with 'at risk' kids in Siem Reap. M'Loptapang website

  • Riverkids Project: They work to end child trafficking in Cambodia. Riverkids Project website

  • APLE: They monitor and investigate people suspected of sexually exploiting children in Cambodia. APLE Cambodia website

Stacey Dooley presents Sex Trafficking in Cambodia: Stacey Dooley Investigates which is on tonight at 9pm on BBC Three.

You can read about Stacey's experiences filming Kids with Guns: Stacey Dooley Investigates on the blog here.

What do you think? Add your comment.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    Where on earth did you get Stacey Dooley from ??
    This 'investigation' was pathetic in the extreme (I gave up watching after a while)
    Is Stacey Dooley really interested in helping these girls ?? I somehow doubt it
    I think she was just looking for a sensationalist story to promote herself. end of story
    I certainly won't be watching again.

  • Comment number 2.

    I just watched this documentary and thought what was the point of that?
    Although she seems like an intelligent girl, it was just too 'hollywood' for me.

    She didn't tackle any issues...she went on a raid with the police...and she just burst out crying infront of those poor girls who have to endure this torture day in and day out.

    They should have sent someone older and more experienced to report about this issue.

    And the conclusion? she got one girl a place at the women's institute to do a course...?
    Instead of addressing what really should be done in this trade that seems to not be ending...

  • Comment number 3.

    iv been trying to watch the programme on sex traffiking only to wonder what and why are the guys at the beeb doing wasting license money making programmes with this young woman in...???? so they ve taken to desperate measures trawling random and convienientp laces ie the airport prob when they had no one else lined up for a prog they saw her in duty free whilst travelling back from some obscure place and saw her standing free hoping for a customer..Shes not a likeble person at all. Whats to like? is nt very bright. and is totally thoughtless when crying in front of those poors girls...how bad she must make them feel ..as if they dont feel bad enough already! The self indulgent amateur dramatics dont cut it,, and it doesnt make for compassion on yor part stacy not at their expense...shes totally inappropiate and unbearable to watch...

  • Comment number 4.

    I haven't seen any other programs with Stacey Dooley, she looks like a lovely girl and I am sure she is a beautiful person. However I was very disappointed to see such a serious subject to be treated in such a cheap way.
    Stacey is probably mid twenties, however it felt like I was watching a teenage girl that has been living in a Limbo until the TV show.
    Was the goal of the program to make a backpacker video? because that's what it felt like.
    Nothing wrong with a backpacker video diary but then stick to the backpacker environment and subjects, the girls she was talking about deserve a bit more respect.
    How long has Stacey spent in Cambodia, how long did this program take to be shot? How much research has been done?
    If the program is about sex trafficking then let’s keep focus on that rather than constantly seeing the face of a teenage girl performing and crying while she is (I hope) pretending to discover that there is evil in the world.
    Also are we really meant to believe that Stacey has changed the life of this girl we see in the program?

  • Comment number 5.

    I've just watched Stacey's program on BBC three and I thought it was absolutely shocking. The things those girls went through from such a young age just broke my heart. It's just disgusting that they feel that they have to sell their bodies to support their families and pay off debt when there are footballers in this country being paid thousand and thousands. I really respect Alang for all that she went through and hope she does well with her beauty course :)

  • Comment number 6.

    Very moving programme Stacey and I think you did an awesome job. You had me in tears with your investigation. My wife is from Vietnam and Cambodia looks a lot like some of Vietnam, so it really hit home. I really do hope that the girls you tried to help can go on and make a better life for themselves now.
    You are doing a fantastic reporting job!

  • Comment number 7.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 8.

    This is truly embarrassing, while I don't doubt this presenter means well she show no cultural understanding. She would have achieved much more if only she had some prior knowledge of the concept of "losing face", to have humiliated the police with her accusing tone and show of emotion while also being inappropriately dressed was totally wrong. While obviously getting emotionally involved she never seemed to forget to play to the camera, constantly flirting with it. It is not a good example to young gap year students who might be considering traveling in South East Asia, it can be a dangerous place and for a young woman to show so little regard to local customs and modesty made me angry enough to comment. I also think that Stacey is probably much brighter and more intelligent than she plays. What a shame she has to dumb down. The sex trade is despicable and I am grateful at least for programs like this bringing it to the attention of the UK public, such a shame it wasn't done better.

  • Comment number 9.

    Very disappointing documentary BBC3.

    This is real life and not a "airy fairy lets close a brothel down on camera"

    Stacey Dooley, I feel you could of done presented your story a little better.

  • Comment number 10.

    ggberardi: Well Said!

  • Comment number 11.

    ggberardi: i totally agree!!

  • Comment number 12.

    Just caught the back end of this programme and was amazed that the presenter was so naive and idealistic, did she really not consider that the local police might have some connections with the brothel owners?, and her idea of getting the girls to work as beauty therapists, who does she think the customers will be? Ordinary impoverished cambodian girls or maybe those working as prostitutes (who can profit from looking better). BBC documentaries used to be well researched and presented on the whole but this one was frankly laughable.

  • Comment number 13.

    Glad to see that the beeb has found a useful outlet for Gail Tuesday. Wow I found her so insightful into a serious subject. Good to see that the bbc accountants have got a tight control on budgets. This programme must have cost next to nothing, airfares for the camera crew and production team, Gail 'investigating' for nothing to enhance her career yoof Telly and 100 dollars the cost of a course for the unfortunate girl to do a 6 months course in beauty, hair nails and fings!

    Who is exploiting who? The beeb exploiting Gail?
    Gail exploiting the prostitute? Or the viewing public exploiting the beeb to provide a sexploitation 'investigation'

    BBC3 very very poor show, next time please use a journalist! Wiled innit!

  • Comment number 14.

    I have watched two of stacey's programmes, whilst the subject matter is most certainly serious i find it impossible to take her with even the smallest degree of seriousness ...her constant messing with her hair and the contant use of uk modern slang when talking to the young people who form the subject matter makes me wonder if thay have any idea of what she is on about !! these subjects provided an opportunity for really 'meaty' documentaries, but you feel that the subject matter was short changed ....I am sure that she is a lovely young lady and the making of these programmes will have given her a whole new perspective on the world, however as a viewer i feel short changed..sorry Stacey

  • Comment number 15.

    I just finished watching this amateurish documentary and was quite frankly disgusted at the lack of sincerity and professionalism this girl displayed. Sex trafficking is without a doubt one of the true evils in the world - a topic that indeed should be made known to the public - however Ms. Dooley failed to document the sheer horror that these girls are faced with.

    What at times seemed like a teenage school project, Dooley was by no means suitable for this role. Setting aside the tears, the melodrama, the school girl giggling, and overall lack of sincerity - she just, to put it bluntly, does not seem very intelligent. And to send someone of her age and maturity level to cover such a gravely serious subject was of no fault of her own.

    Sex trafficking isn't a joke, Dooley was not of any help, and the entire program appalled me. I especially was shocked when Dooley whined and pouted because she wasn't able to go on a brothel-raid...poor Dooley...best stay at home and play with your dolls.

  • Comment number 16.

    Dear BBC,
    After watching the ‘Stacey Dooley investigates child trafficking in Cambodia’, I was utterly shocked and appalled at the way she handled the whole situation. Yes she may only be a young girl (I am 21 myself), but I am sorry but I do not feel her age gives her the excuse to handle a situation of such severity with a total lack of understanding and disrespect. She didn’t seem to grasp the horrific lives these girls have lived, because if she did, how could she refer to a young girl who has been abused, stabbed and raped since the age of thirteen (when coming back from spending the night with a customer) as ‘doing the walk of shame, like girls back home might do’ whilst a big smile is plastered on her face? Her constant smiling looked much more than something she may do when she is nervous, and even if it is then even more reason for her to not be right for the job. As a regular viewer of the BBC, I am used to you hiring presenters whom suit their job perfectly, yet her patronising and immature approach to it has left me reeling. Compassion is not achieved by squeezing some tears out (not judging as they might have been real), her general attitude towards the whole show felt like she was talking about nights out she has with her friends back home, almost insignificant and blaze. Those girls suffer day in and day out in ways that I can’t even bare to think about, it just amazes me that Stacey can manage to talk about such harrowing experiences with a smile on her face whilst flipping her hair over her shoulder.

  • Comment number 17.

    Watching this programme made me realise what we take for granted. I really wish I had tonnes of money I could give to help these poor girls and their families. I am far from perfect but cannot understand why one human would treat another in this way. If only the end result of the raid was different. (I also agree with the remark the other person made about footballers)!

  • Comment number 18.

    What is the BBC current affairs thinking? The sex trade in Asia is not just restricted to Cambodia, it's alive and flourishing in every country that makes up that part of the world so Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Burma(Myanmar),China and others.

    Why is it flourishing? It's not just supply and demand, these countries have no benefit system, these countries are corrupt top to bottom including law enforcement.

    Young girls drift into the larger towns and cities from rural areas because they are no good to the family unless they want to work in the fields from 6.30am until 6.30pm for the benefit of their family, with no payment as families work in co-operatives based on donation of your time. The girls want cell phones, they want fashionable clothes, they want wealthy boyfriends and they will not find them in their rural villages, that is the background as to why they become involved in the sex business and it starts very early on in life, usually around puberty.

    Police forces are not interested, in fact they are part of the business taking kickbacks and favours to suppress or tip-off the organisations when raids are about to take place.

    Sending Stacey Dooley to report on this foul business is fine in itself but don't judge our standards with theirs, these countries don't give out state aid, they don't have a benefits system, in fact they don't spend a penny on the population, they only spend on infrastructure and any form of corrupt activity they can lay their hands on including state sponsored logging and deforestation, express road tolls and many other activities.

    It's a way of life, it's endemic in society, it's the difference between those who have and those who have not with no in-between, it's the fate of many young girls born into rural villages and perhaps most disturbing to our way of life is that families actively encourage girls to leave home and send money back no matter what work they do.

    I don't condone this trade in any way, shape or form but we kid ourselves if we think we can do anything to change it and for sure sending Stacey Dooley to report on it will change nothing. There are literally millions of girls involved all over Asia supported indirectly by corrupt law enforcement and governments alike and to interfere at that level would lead to big trouble. If you don't believe me, go live and work there for 12 years as I did, not just a few days look-see!

  • Comment number 19.

    Dear BBC,
    After watching the ‘Stacey Dooley investigates child trafficking in Cambodia’, I was utterly shocked and appalled at the way she handled the whole situation. Yes she may only be a young girl (I am 21 myself), but I am sorry but I do not feel her age gives her the excuse to handle a situation of such severity with a total lack of understanding and disrespect. She didn’t seem to grasp the horrific lives these girls have lived, because if she did, how could she refer to a young girl who has been abused, stabbed and raped since the age of thirteen (when coming back from spending the night with a customer) as ‘doing the walk of shame, like girls back home might do’ whilst a big smile is plastered on her face? Her constant smiling looked much more than something she may do when she is nervous, and even if it is then even more reason for her to not be right for the job. As a regular viewer of the BBC, I am used to you hiring presenters whom suit their job perfectly, yet her patronising and immature approach to it has left me reeling. Compassion is not achieved by squeezing some tears out (not judging as they might have been real), her general attitude towards the whole show felt like she was talking about nights out she has with her friends back home, almost insignificant and blaze. Those girls suffer day in and day out in ways that I can’t even bare to think about, it just amazes me that Stacey can manage to talk about such harrowing experiences with a smile on her face whilst flipping her hair over her shoulder.

  • Comment number 20.

    LoL ! amazing ! any1 else 'ave anyfin' gud 2 say abt this or any other Stacey "I'm down wit the kids" Dooley programs ? no ? well I am off to watch the the bearded lady and the elephant man on another channel...

  • Comment number 21.

    I never seen such a terrible show on the Beeb! Firstly Stacey should research the history behind the sex trade in that part of the world and explain to us how and why it is done rather jumping in with a blinkered narrow minded and ignorant point of view.
    Life is not all about her little sheltered world of Essex or Stoke Newington or wherever she comes from. There is no need for our good TV licence money being spent on her travelling to far flung places on a jolly - she could just travel 10 miles from here home and find exactly the same situation here in the UK!!
    If the Beeb are trying to get the younger generation to watch BBC 3, at least educate them rather than jam drivel down our throats from a person who clearly has no idea about what she is presenting.
    I am not saying what she reported on is good in any way shape or form, but it is the truth of the real world and it has gone on for centuries all over the world and i doubt she can do anything about it at all.
    Did she really think the police would close the brothel down when I am willing to bet the police are on a kick-back and the pimp was probably a relative of the chief of police - wake up Stacey!

  • Comment number 22.

    A very serious topic and an opportunity so shamefully wasted by cheap amatuer investigation. Come on Beeb give us some value for our hard earned money.

  • Comment number 23.

    Although I can understand miss Dooley on her mission to end child exploitation, I can't understand why she targets the people who are only trying to make a living. In their country, prostitution is permitted. The women don't have rich parents who spoil their children, they don't have tv companies who fly them around the world to make pointless documentaries. Unfortunately prostitution is the only way to make a decent living.
    In my opinion the real exploiters are the customers. I didn't watch the whole programme as I got disinterested after only 10 minutes, but I can guess she didn't pledge her annoying questions to the customers and most of them will probably be british. I can't see the brits going over there to learn & practice Buddhism.
    I think miss Dooley just likes to be in front of the cameras and be considered a presenter and therefore reach the so-called celebrity status.

  • Comment number 24.

    I think some of the comments here are a bit unfair to Stacey... and missed the intro about where she's coming from. I do understand that the documentary is about her and her "growing awareness" to the rest of the world, away from the decadent lifestyle she previously had. So in that respect I don't blame her as this young lady is coming out of her naivety...

    BUT the BBC should be far more careful. The director and producers are responsible for all the offense felt by many of the viewers.

    Slavery is at the highest at any time in human history. Whether from east europe, africa or asia, slavery and trafficking occurs everywhere including here in the UK. It's a growing "industry" ignored by governments and local authorities and an issue which should be taken far more seriously and with far more sensitivity and research by the BBC.

    The BBC has used this topic in such a flippant way that this almost comes off as some dark comedy. By all means use it as a vehicle to teach the naive (girls like Stacey) but there was no happy ending here... no follow up for the girl... and I doubt any support further than the making of this documentary. There are many within asia helping as much as possible, setting up orphanges and housing, especially near the Thai borders which could be helped with the PR. Having the "white saviour" who comes to show the people of cambodia how to be civilised was how it came across. I thought we got over that.

    mike

  • Comment number 25.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 26.

    Great program and thank you for all your work in this area. One comment - I would be curious as what we are doing to stop trafficked women right here in London. Got to almost any phone booth in London and if you call the phone number on the post cards found in such booths you will find trafficked women. What are we doing to prevent this? Thank you

  • Comment number 27.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 28.

    It is an appalling and very disappointing documentary that lacks understanding of seriousness and complexity of the problem. The presenter seems to have no understanding of cultural context. I am extremely disappointed with BBC for producing a material of such a low quality.

  • Comment number 29.

    This programme and presenter were naive beyond belief! I have at least some experience and knowledge of Thailand/Cambodia over 28 years now.
    Many officials and governments are totally corrupt in Asia, especially Cambodia,Thailand.
    The fact that girls under 18 are in this situation is terrible, BUT dont confuse them with older girls being prostitutes and make a judgement on prostitution which is the problem with many of these programmes.
    The social mores are very different to ours.
    Yes she had two children but I bet these were from relationships willingly entered with Cambodian men, not from business sex, remembering that legal age is 13 not as in the west.
    Education & employment and a change in social mores would be the only way to change things, obviously not happening anytime soon.

  • Comment number 30.

    I come from South-East Asia and I was aghast,dismayed, shocked .... at how the programme 'Sex trade in Cambodia' was presented.I think the BBC has chosen the wrong presenter for such a programme as this. Stacy showed no cultural awareness and there was a lack of sensitivity to the people who were interviewed, i.e the young girls,the policemen & the social workers. By this I mean, she should have been more appropriately attired as she's going to an Asian society. The way she was dressed must have drawn a lot of uncalled for attention to herself as she walked and mingled with the poor in the villages. When I visit such undeveloped countries, I'm aware how much I need to blend in & dress modestly, so as not to exacerbate their poverty even more. What's more was that she was not sensitive to the subject of sex trade she was dealing with.I say this because she was walking around with her long unkempt hair in the red light area and a bra strap showing when she was interviewing the policemen. Doesn't she know how she came across to these policemen? And she wants to interview the police chief about his work? It is no wonder she didn't get any response. I think Stacy is more suited to presenting programmes that are less serious in nature like investigating holiday resorts in the world. There, she can reveal more flesh and let her hair down.

    If the BBC is going to spend license money on expensive documentaries, they should make sure that the presenters don't get in the way of the story that is there to be told. Here was a good opoortunity which was wasted because of poor preparation and selection.

  • Comment number 31.

    Didn't watch last night.
    Sounds like Stacey and her crack production team have covered themselves in glory again (and hopefully for the last time).

    Just stand my previous comments on the Kids with Guns blog.

    Back to Luton Airport methinks Stace??!!

  • Comment number 32.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 33.

    While I agree to most comments made here it is not the top class professional journalism that you might find on BBC News 24.

    I had found the programme fascinating in a positive way. I think the main aim of this show is to make more people aware about the issues that we may not know about. In particular with Stacey Dooley as the presenter, plus the broadcasting on BBC3, I think it is trying to reach out to younger audiences.

    Stacey's personality, her susceptibility to crying, and her non-professional journalism approach with her youthful down-with-the-kids speak serves the programme's aim quite nicely.

    Although Stacey is not the most knowledge person you and I will ever see. I doubt she is down to the level of stupidity. She knows that helping one person or two will not eradicate the issue of young sex workers. What she does show is hope, in a naïve sort of way. I may be too simplistic but I think there's way too much cynicism these days. A bit of hope and positive out-look now and again is what we all could do.

  • Comment number 34.

    I don't often cry, but Stacey Dooley's programmes often have me on the edge of tears. I read about people killed or harmed in natural or human-made disasters, when I teach & research 'Development studies'; but statistics don't mean as much as when Stacey talks to victims on TV. I prefer Stacey's approach to the clinical detachment which is common in journalism and the academic world (professional, perhaps; but it often seems uncaring). Some people may feel their country of origin is being criticised; many issues Stacey discusses apply in all countries, including UK - Stacey could investigate a UK problem, such as homelessness.

    I don't think Stacey & her team should be expected to solve the problems she exposes. The BBC could organise a studio discussion between so-called "experts" (academics, politicians, etc) after each programme, so specialists can explain possible solutions to the problems you raise.

    Please make more programmes like this.

  • Comment number 35.

    This show just randomly hit to me on the TV. This issue is always on my heart. As myself growing up in Asia country, this issue is not a stranger to me. In a general way, this documentary did explore this area in a way that, I believe, a young generation can understand. What make me surprise is the comments that I have read on this website appearing to attack the young white girl putting herself in the environment that she never understand and dream.

    I believe that this program aim for the younger generations, who are indeed living in their own little worlds where they can get almost everything at their finger tips. To be completely honest, who will think education is a luxury to many people in this world? Who will actually think being a teenager, a time in life that can be free to dream actually is a luxury. Those girls in Cambodia didn't get this privilege. And I believe by placing Stacey Dooley, a young British girl who has a warm family in Britain, a time of life to dream, in this show is contrasting what those girls in Cambodia, everything is an luxury to many out there. She brought a good point, 'They didn't choose to sell them in this way to make money.' It is the voice of two different young people from two different worlds, one is from a land of freedom, one is not.

    After reading all these comments, I'm so surprised to see people actually focusing on the presenter, but not the issue itself. Is it because we all expect to see some (or loads of) crying in this kind of show to make you feeling more sympathetic and even more human? On the comment how naive Stacey Dooley is..didn't we hear a result from a recent survey, which tell us there are people out there are still thinking Africa is a country? Not that because you have heard, and known about this issue slightly more than others, and just 'puff' yourself away.

    On a fair note, I do also find that it's annoying to see how the presenter playing her hair all the times in front of the camera (actually, I do really like how the Cambodian woman make her hair so elegantly towards the end of the show), and using too many British slang in this show, even though there was translation. I always think that language is act of respect to all cultures at a minimal level. Even though there was translation, overloading slang truly I found that it's not acceptable.

    I do understand the intention of this show. And BBC three show is mainly for the younger generation. I do think that there is a room for improvement. But I'm just so sick to see how individual points of view against the presenter herself but not the issue. If this show makes you angry or any other feelings about the issue and any thoughts about the world that we are living, I think this show has done what it meant to be.

  • Comment number 36.

    I have watched both Stacey Dooley's programs, kids with guns and child sex trafficking, with the same result: Frustration and shouting at the TV.
    I don't really want to comment on Stacey's journalism style although I thought she is quite naive even for her age.
    It made me frustrated to see money wasted on a trip for her to the Congo and Cambodia while she could find the same problems right here in the UK. There are boy soldiers with guns in London. Sex trafficking is happening all over the UK and I'm sorry to say those trafficked and exploited boys and girls are not exclusively from abroad. British children are internally trafficked and exploited by organised networks in the UK for e.g sexual abuse, crime, drug runs, etc.
    I don't want to minimise the problems in Cambodia or other countries, however, I don't want to overlook the same issue in the UK either. A program like this might lead to a public opinion that sex trafficking and child exploitation is not happening here. It makes the already difficult work of social workers, counsellors, therapists who work in this field with e.g "stop the traffik", Barnardo's, NSPCC, even harder. Many services and projects to help trafficked and sexually exploited children in the UK are struggling to survive with 25%-30% funding cuts or have already been closed due to lack of funding. I wonder if the money that was spent on these two programs would have been of better use if donated to charities that fight for an end of knife crime, gun crime, trafficking and exploitation of children and young people in the UK.

  • Comment number 37.

    What is this and other programmes similar to this, really trying to stop? Is it under age girls in prostitution, in which case very necessary....or is it prostitution as such?...which is in my view, ridiculous! All the way through there was a blurring of the two and an implication that prostitution and men seeking these services was wrong, this is a matter for great in depth discussion.

  • Comment number 38.

    PLEASE BBC DONT SACRIFICE QUALITY PROGRAMMES JUST TO BE COOL. I registered just to express my disappointment at this really patronizing, extremely naive and overall unprofessional work by Stacey Dooley. I love BBC documentaries that reveal both sides of a story and allows the viewer to draw their own conclusion even if it is an obvious one. Louise Theroix in Lagos and Bruce in Tribe are fantastic models on how to make a documentary about countries with practices and cultures very different from the British culture. I saw more of Stacey's face then anything else. Her wandering around with no shoes was to show what exactly? the people that dont wear shoes do so because they are poor, is she mocking them in pretend poverty because this would make them feel more comfortable and not be distracted by her obvious foreign appearance?.. and her attempts at provocative questioning is just....poor. But I think the worst thing is how she nods in pretend understanding when the locals are speaking their native tongue which she clearly does not understand. Please educate her on the high standard of BBC journalism we have grown to love and come to expect before she does more damage to international relations.
    If she would like to make a self gratifying film to show her friends about how charitable she would like to think she is can she please not do it on my hard earned tax payments.

  • Comment number 39.

    ‘Je m'appelle Stacey’ BBC

    I viewed with interest your documentary on child prostitution and exploitation in Phom Phen, Cambodia. However the real exploitation here begins with Ms Dooley and the BBC talent scouts. The casting team deserve ‘tea and medals’ for this one. What a wonderful mix of naivety and passion they’ve found in Ms Dooley. Watching this documentary made me cringe. This is far too serious a subject for such inexperienced eyes. Perhaps casting the innocent Ms Dooley is itself, meant to satire the exploitation of youth in developing countries. There is nothing clever, cutting edge or revealing in this.

    Underage prostitution and exploitation of women is bad enough. The almost evangelical fervour that the BBC pursues such stories is worse! How clean cut the reporter Stacey Dooley looks in comparison to the dirty squalor all around her. How wonderfully staged. Sanctimonious middle class moralising do-gooder. Her questions to the brothel proprietor about the ‘respectfulness’ of the establishment were ludicrous. Has Ms Dooley lived under a Marxist Agrarian regime that exterminated 1/3 of the population? Was she born in one of the poorest countries of the developing world? Her churlish fake smiles during the interview barely hide her obvious abhorrence for such establishments. A thinly veiled attempt to lure the proprietor into admission of guilt. Someone please turn on the lights. Has little Ms Marker not done her homework? Surely the BBC production crew could lend her a hand. A few miles down the road is a memorial filled with human skulls. Around the corner is a prison where generations of Cambodians were exterminated – not during WWII – but in the 70’s. One in 3 middle aged Cambodian citizens you see in the street helped murder their family (including their own parents).

    Sweet smiling wide eyed Ms Dooley can cross examine the proprietor all she likes but there’s little chance she’ll get the answer she wants. No matter- the film crew will be happy. They’ll have the gritty wide angled views to fill plasma screen TV’s back home with Ms Dooley’s crocodile tears as a bonus. Another hard hitting documentary from the ‘wilds’ of South East Asia brought to you by the BBC. “Journalism’ hmmm – I don’t think so. Its rather difficult growing up with investigative journalism from John Simpson and Frank Gardner and then being feed this ‘reality style TV’ detritus.

    What exactly is Ms Dooley’s plan to replace such establishments with? How about the numerous middle aged British paedophiles that frequent such establishments in Pnom Phen before returning home to comfortable and moral Britain. Why not put them in front of the lens? Ms Dooley sleeps comfortably at night with a roof over her head and food in her belly (just like the rest of us) because half of our brothers and sisters in the world ‘go without’. The ‘slave trade’ is alive and well – but it’s not Mr Phom Phen benefitting the most. You don’t need the English Reformation or bible reading about planks and specks to see the hypocrisy here.

    My advice to the very well presented Ms Dooley, take a Gap Yah somewhere else next time with some French lesions thrown in, before attempting something you can’t summarise on a postage stamp. My advice to the BBC is to stop exploiting child reporters in the ‘developed’ world for cheap ‘big brother’ style reality documentaries. Leave journalism to journalists! The format is ludicrous and insulting to the ‘performer’, your audience and the subjects, not to mention your existing team of highly experienced foreign correspondents.

    John Richards, Australia

  • Comment number 40.

    Dear BBC,
    Yes, I have made the effort to register in order to add a comment about this programme - something I would not usually do. I started watching this programme and after a few minutes, thought, who is Stacey Dooley - have I missed a big brother contestant who has found fame through investigative reporting? Two words, Bl**dy awful. Why cant you find a journalist to do this rather than drag a girl from Primark off the street? The good things- lovely looking girl and obviously connected emotionally to the people she "interviewed". The bad things - I didnt learn anything I didnt already know about this awful situation. The constant crying got in the way of the actual interviewing. The inane comments such as " thats crazzzeeee", just annoyed me - I switched off the tv after 20 mins. Really inarticulate and couldnt actually think of many questions to ask the subjects interviewed. Whoever chose Stacey as a presenter/ interviewer for this programme has actually done a disservice to those interviewed in the programme. BBC, you failed to do this harrowing subject justice, which is a great shame and these girls who have probably risked their lives or the reputation of themselves/their families....have been let down. I would hazard a guess that many viewers simply switched over as the lack of skill of the interviewer, grated after a while. BBC, hope you have a read of the comments posted here (seems to be consistency amongst the comments!).By the way, I couldnt do any better - but thats not the point - what about giving an out of work journalist a job, bet there are lots out there that could have done a much better job.
    Sarah

  • Comment number 41.

    There have been many negative comments on this blog:

    * Some people claim she's too emotional; others that she's insincere, i.e not emotional enough.

    * some bloggers say she's too idealistic; others disagree, e.g. "Is Stacey Dooley really interested in helping these girls ?? I somehow doubt it".

    * Some bloggers think she's too middle class; others criticise her working class accent.

    * Some claim the programmes waste money, others that "This programme must have cost next to nothing".

    * One blogger said she "humiliated the police with her accusing tone", another that she was naive to trust the police.

    * One blogger wrote she "failed to document the sheer horror that these girls are faced with"; another implied Stacey exaggerated the problem: "It's a way of life, it's endemic in society".

    There must be a reason for all these complaints. One blogger describes Stacey as a "white saviour" - perhaps because she highlights problems in Africa and Asia, some bloggers think Stacey is racist? The fact that she goes to some of the most dangerous places on earth to meet victims suggests Stacey is the opposite, i.e. anti-racist. But Stacey could make this clear by investigating topics which put less-developed countries in a positive light: for example, microcredit was invented in Bangladesh; nonviolent political action is associated with Gandhi; and The truth & Reconciliation Commission was created in South Africa. Please, Stacey, keep putting positive role models on our TV screens (like the charity workers in recent programmes), to counterbalance the negative images.

  • Comment number 42.

    What has happened to the BBC? To describe this as investigative journalism is an insult not only to the viewer but to journalism as a whole.
    The whole thing came across as medium for the self promotion of Stacey Dooley. I felt nauseated at her constant hair flicking, crying on cue to the camera and the general belittlement of everyone. I mean when the Cambodian girl asked Miss Dooley what her interests were she said eating and stuffing her face. How insensitive can you get to say this to someone who literally has to sell her body to feed herself. Another time in the hairdresser she asked the proprietor how much it would cost to train the girl and was told $100 to which she replied that’s like 65 quid I spend more than that every time I have my hair done at home.
    When the Cambodian police didn’t shut down a brothel she started crying “again” but this time it came across that she was having a temper tantrum like a small child Unbelievable!
    I have lived and travelled all around Asia and her behaviour in front of the police was a bad example to any young travellers to the area. She has no comprehension of the corruption in Cambodia. This is a country were opponents of the leader Hun Sen are routinely murdered and whose main opposition leader Sam Rainsy lives in self-imposed exile in Europe because he faces 12 years in jail for opposing Hun Sen. I would not like to think what the consequences would be to anyone else, who was not accompanied by a television production crew, if they acted that way to the local police.
    There was nothing new or revealing about this programme the sex trade is the same the world over Britain included. You could find women in this country if you dug deep enough who have endured what these women in Cambodia endured but then that would entail real journalism and would not provide Miss Dooley with a BBC funded self promoting jolly to the other side of the world. All in all this series is utter garbage and a complete waste of license payer’s money.

  • Comment number 43.

    Wow so much criticism of Stacey Dooley! I think people should stop and reflect on their contributions to the world to the most vulnerable and most traumatised people before venting such anger and outrage at the genuine efforts of others. Yes they are complex issues and sometimes it is the smallest and most genuine of human actions that are the most powerful. A story to think about...

    One day there was a great forest fire all the animals feld to save themselves from the crisis the hummingbird flew to the lake collected a drop of water and flew to the fire back and forth. The other animals were outraged what are you doing they yelled... I am doing what I can said the hummingbird. Stacey the world needs more hummingbirds x

  • Comment number 44.

    I was really disappointed that a documentary by the BBC was so poorly researched and portrayed. Firstly, it is highly unethical to post footage of the girls in the karaoke bars (especially as they were mostly underage) - it is not respectful or dignifying for them - how would anyone in the UK feel if their daughters were filmed without permission in an undignified manner? It was also exploitative to put Alang through experiences which she was clearly being re-traumatised - and then expect her to make a life changing decision to train as a hairdresser within days of this.
    As someone who has lived in Cambodia and worked on these issues for 12 years, it was also culturally insensitive to put an inexperienced young lady on this very sensitive and complex documentary. She was disrespectful to the police she encountered and thought in her naivety that breaking down brothel doors is the only response to this issue which is not true.
    Finally, it left the audience overwhelmed by the issue without saying how they could make a helpful response, such as funding some of the organisations you featured or at least showing a link to them.

  • Comment number 45.

    As a Brit working in Cambodia, I find this program greatly disappointing, a wasted opportunity to examine what is a serious issue. Regrettably, the program was factually inaccurate on every quoted statistic, some so laughably wrong it questions the professional ability of production team, from its producer Fiona Lloyd-Davies right down to its lowest minion. Frequently Alang says her Aunt sold her into prostitution. So where is the interview with her Aunt, providing her with the opportunity to explain what is a serious criminal act? It's basic journalism 101. Instead we are presented with a litany of "some", "many" and "it is said by some", none of which hold up to the slightest inspection. It is a demonstration of gross professional incompetence; did the production team cross-reference any information for this program? The impression is they did not, instead taking without question the guest tour provided by organizations who will do and say anything in their self-interest to raise their public profile internationally, thereby generating new funding streams. Anti-trafficking is a big business and the BBC should have been more professionally aware - the fact its principal NGO contributor has been publicly accused in the Cambodian Courts for criminal entrapment, lost cases though illegal coaching witnesses, etc, went unmentioned. This program should be brought to the attention of the Board of Governors. Clearly, there are naive people within the Corporation who simply should not be in its employ.

    What the BBC has done is the reverse of its stated intentions. It has make an hour long Cambodian sex promotional film, highlighting inaccurately the availability of underage girls in the bars, beer gardens and KTV's. The undoubted result will be those who will now make the journey to Phnom Penh to enjoy the very pleasures Ms Dooley decries. The fact no proof any featured beer garden, brothel or other entertainment establishment employed underage will be missed - the no-smoke-without-fire mantra will prevail.

    Perhaps the biggest insult of this incompetent work is Stacey Dooley herself, an imbecile who delivers less impact than a wet cabbage-leaf beating to buttocks, a person so hopelessly out of her depth, intellectually, emotionally and professionally, that it's an embarrassment to the BBC reputation of excellence: Dumbing down has reached new depths.

    Cambodia is an amazing country, it deserved better and the BBC failed: The Board of Governors should axe this entire sorry excuse of a production unit.

  • Comment number 46.

    I find Stacey to be incredibly condescending in this program and lacking in authentic empathy. Way too Hollywood for me to hang in for the entire program!

  • Comment number 47.

    I would like to add one additional comment to my earlier post.

    Yesterday (Thursday Oct 21st), 17 photographs [link: [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]of Alang surfaced on the Internet, taken by a customer in 2005. By Ms Dooley's calculations, the images should be of a 13year old. They are not. They reveal a very pretty 18 year old. Worst for the BBC, local expatriates here have talked to Alang since the program went out and she confirmed her age is 23.

    Considering the raft of falsehoods contained in this program, one has to wonder if any of the subject matter is true: Like the mythical Downing Street Weapons of Mass Destruction document, one has to ask who sexed up the facts [no pun intended] to make it more compelling viewing.

    Fiona Lloyd-Davies has some considerable explaining to do.

  • Comment number 48.

    Recent blogs on this list question the reliability of evidence in Stacey's programme. It may be helpful to point out where some information in a programme was inaccurate; but how reliable is the counter-evidence? For example, a child prostitute may have claimed to be 18 in 2005, even if she was in fact much younger, because she didn't want to be arrested. The TV pictures showed young women in bars who appeared to be underage, and appeared to be working as prostitutes; but I don't see how journalists could prove these things, because if children are working illegally they won't admit it on camera. Presumably bloggers who criticise Stacey's programme do accept that child prostitution is a problem in Cambodia and elsewhere; and that agencies such as the Cambodian government and United Nations should do more to prevent exploitation.

  • Comment number 49.

    There's been a lot of critical comment on Stacey's documentaries but I think it is really good that someone so young and inexperienced in international issues is prepared to get to grips with some very difficult themes and to put her views and experiences on show for armchair critics to slag off. From her first sortie into international issues in the 'Blood, Sweat and Tee-Shirts' series, Stacey has shown that British audiences can be helped to engage with meaningful themes from far-flung parts of the world. She is young and fresh and this helps the BBC to engage with different audiences to the ones addressed by the 'Usual Suspects' who are probably men, in their 40s or 50s, and used to telling the world what they think. To see a young woman move from complete unconcern about the wider world to a mature professional engaging with some of the more intractable quandaries that a rapidly globalising world presents, is really refreshing. The sooner her documentaries can break out of the limited viewing of BBC Three and into more living rooms, bedrooms, kitchens (and wherever else people access TV!) the better it will be!

  • Comment number 50.

    In response to John: 12:39 UK time, Thursday, 14 October 2010:

    1: "It may be helpful to point out where some information in a programme was inaccurate; but how reliable is the counter-evidence?"
    2: "For example, a child prostitute may have claimed to be 18 in 2005, even if she was in fact much younger, because she didn't want to be arrested.
    3: "Presumably bloggers who criticise Stacey's programme do accept that child prostitution is a problem in Cambodia and elsewhere".

    1: Incorrect Facts:
    * 100,000 prostitutes in Cambodia, 1/3 underage. Totally False. Data Sources US Anti Trafficking Reports, USAID, APNSW, et al.
    * 20,000 prostitutes in Phnom Penh, 25% underage. Totally False. National Cambodian Anti Trafficking Police/US Government figures, Annual Reports of regional Sex Health Workers, et al.
    * Alang is 18. She is 23, by her own admission, confirmed as late as yesterday [Saturday]. The photographic evidence of 2005 is irrefutable proof, 12-13 year olds physically do not look 18 - certainly, in 2005, Alang looked older than any of the beer garden staff in this film, none of whom were actually identified as underage ... all Cambodians have an identity card.
    * Pic, the alleged 16 year old prostitute seen in silhouette: She is 19. Local intelligence.
    * 104 Bar - Shown in the film: Has no underage staff. All are required to age identify, and to sign contracts they will not conduct any form of prostitution or solicitation on the premises, None are trafficked: Source. Business Owner, Government licensed.
    * Street 104 is not the red light area of Phnom Penh - its a street with bars, restaurants and a guest house; It's directly opposite the main Post office, hardly the location of a red light district.
    * Hun Sen Park - night shots of pimps and 'taxi girls' soliciting. Also the location of joggers, fitness fanatics, lawful couple, etc. Those shown may or may not have been involved in soliciting.
    * Victory Hill, Sihanoukville - This Bar area has no underage girls. The area is popular with backpackers, weekenders from Phnom Penh, and locals. Again, all staff by law must age verify before working. No trafficked girls employed in this area.
    * Chicken Farm Brothel Area, Sihanoukville. No evidence of underage, either in vision or in commentary. No evidence from Alang the brothel she located was employing underage. The fact a sea port has a red-light area is hardly a surprise or worth of anything other than voyeurism.
    * Men with girls 1/5 their age: Gross exaggeration. Either the guys are 100 or the girls are 10. Neither is credible. The girls shown with foreigners were mainly 22-24, the guys were 40-50. Basic math makes that half; perhaps Ms Dooley played hookey for much of her education or is prone to gross exaggeration, neither qualities make for a reliable believable television professional.

    2: The establishment she was working in required/requires age verification. The bar itself didn't want to be arrested. Data checked with Business owners.

    3: Not accepted. In the late 1990s and early 2000, through a combination of civil war and political crisis, Cambodia was effectively lawless. A cuop by the present prime minister in 1999 created relative stability , enabling the country to shake off its Khmer Rouge heritage and rebuild itself, law and order and social infrastructure. Since 2004-5, a concerted effort funded by the US, Europe and Australia has tackled the child prostitution problem. Many NGO's were established to fight the then many brothels and guesthouses fronting underage. In the past two years alone, the US has delivered $5.4 million to combat trafficking in Cambodia: This directly lead to brothel, massage centers, hotels and beer bars being checked and many closed when sex services were found on site (based on loss trafficking definition, not underage). Today, the incidence of underage is a tiny tiny fraction of what it once was. The experiences of Alang accurately describe a situation which existed 5-10 years ago. The fact no underage girls were seen on camera is important: Looking young despite what Stacey say, does not mean they are underage: The fact her 18 year old friend is actually older than the presenter is atypical of the programs poor research. Cambiodia and Phnom Penh is filled with kids working, in shops, rice fields, scavenging: many 16 year olds are the principle breadwinner for younger siblings, running households, cooking and babysitting whilst parents are absent. Had Dooley made a film about this lost generation, working instead of attending school, she would had support of the local community; it is s serious ongoing problem.

    This program highlights a real issue, not covered in its content: NGO's once set up to tackle child prostitution, now face a changed environment, a country with one of the lowest underage rates in Asia. What is left is an Asian for Asian service which is so underground, its near impossible to infiltrate. Child sex for westerns was closed down, the "Cambodia - Underage Destination" no longer true. Whilst the organisations should be congratulated on this, it created a big problem ... effectively it put them out of a very well paid job. And herein is the problem; It was a business, a very good and profitable business worth many millions of dollars. The news "its gone" is not good for the balance sheet. The ages targeted rose from pre-teen to early teens. Now the NGO's are prosecution westerners for sexual relationships with girls they can lawfully marry in the UK. It is hardly what the many donated millions were intended for. The new world means it is now in the organization's financial interest to keep the Cambodia Child Sex Tourist Destination myth alive: Attracting and hosting foreign film crews is a primary method for this. Critically, this is the underlying problem for the BBC 3/Ricochet program makers ... they came here to Cambodia to make a film about underage sex trafficking which disappeared 5 years ago. It explains the tangible lack of visual evidence to support it. Little wonder Stacey bursts into tears when the Police won't give her the brothel rad figures in a report - The simple fact the Police are not authorized to publish such figures escapes her limited understanding of the country ... its a sensitive subject, one which affects $millions in US grant: A minor official will not risk their job disclosing information their peers have not signed off on. Stacey is just too naive, ill-informed to understand the complexities of the local situation.

    What remains is a program which has no direction, very poorly presented. Was it about trafficking? I ahve no idea. If it was, where were the interviews with those doing the trafficking (the money lenders, the aunt's, uncles, grandmothers). Was it about Underage? Where was the evidence? Looking young, small breasted and small hipped is an Asian physical trait - is the BBC suggesting this is unlawful? Was it a historical record of what was once the unlawful Cambodia? If so, the producers omitted to say so: It would have been accurate, though hardly headlines, just not news worthy.

    It is unfortunate for the BBC and the program makers, many well-informed British expatriates live her, some actually working in this field, very knowledgeable about the subject. Now, on a daily basis, more information is forthcoming on how this program came into existence: It is known how much Alang was paid, how much she had to pay to the person who introduced her to the program makers, how long she was in the employ of the producers, what instructions she was given, etc. We know the locations, the hotels the crew stayed in (not cheap), the names of the NGO's and their staff. It is very rare such a detailed dossier is made (or needed) so soon after the airing of program. That in itself should worry the BBC management. Factual programs simply should not generate such reports.

    Do not get me wrong. Alang is a gutsy kid, a survivor, one who is doing well from an underprivileged upbringing of no education, in a country without any social safety net. Whether all or just some of her story is true we will never know: Certainly, such horrors have happened to a great deal of Cambodian girls caught up in the sex industry, trafficked or not.

    The complaints voiced are against the program makers - they apparently fell into the trap of believing the hype sold to them. They should have been more circumspect. The result has generated a blog 90% questioning the value of the program, a program full of errors, lost direction and a presenter so emotional unstable, it begs the question why she is allowed out unaccompanied, let alone presenting a program of such gravity.



    22 Oct 2010, ollyboy49 wrote:

    "The sooner her documentaries can break out of the limited viewing of BBC Three and into more living rooms, bedrooms, kitchens (and wherever else people access TV!) the better it will be!"

    Nothing could be more scary that such a thought. BBC 3, a minority viewing channel have been rightfully accused of making a highly inaccurate sex promotional film: Airing on a mainstream channel would be highly irresponsible, perpetuating an outdated situation which would only encourage child sex tourists to head for Cambodia to seek the very evil the program decries: Cambodians, being very quick to fill demand, would then restart an industry the international community spend more than $12 million to stamp out.

    ollyboy49, your comments are naive, placing the next generation of Cambodia Kids at risk. Perhaps its a reality worth considering before promoting Ms Dooley's considerable lack of worldly ability.

    Rhoel in Asia

  • Comment number 51.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 52.

    Well said, yachtman.

  • Comment number 53.

    Regarding Rhoel's comments on 23rd October. Someone breaking the law has an incentive to lie; so a child prostitute has a clear motive to pretend to be an adult, and a bar owner has a clear motive to pretend to be obeying the law. But there's no obvious motive for a woman to say she was forced into the sex trade as a child; so I find this more persuasive than the evidence Rhoel Asia offers (e.g. "104 Bar - Shown in the film: Has no underage staff"). Rhoel should not dismiss the problem if only Cambodian men (rather than tourists) hire child prostitutes: such exploitation of children is still unacceptable.

    Stacey and her team could have visited another country, rather than Cambodia: see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prostitution_of_children for a discussion. It is hard to tell which country has the worst problem in 2010. I hope Cambodia has made progress in reducing the problem. But child prostitution did not end in 2005, as Rhoel implies. Evidence for this comes from many sources, apart from Stacey's programme, such as:

    * an Al Jazeera report, in 2008:
    english.aljazeera.net/news/asia-pacific/2008/10/20081021560267677.html

    * the Cambodian government website, document updated in 2010:
    www.foodsecurity.gov.kh/otherdocs/Workshop-Conceptnote.pdf

    * Sky Television news, in October 2010:
    news.sky.com/skynews/Home/World-News/Cambodia-Paedophiles-Prey-On-Young-In
    -Sihanoukville---Briton-Maggie-Eno-Helping-Protect-Street-Kids/Article/201
    010415770136?lid=ARTICLE_15770136_Cambodia:PaedophilesPreyOnYoungInSihanou
    kville-BritonMaggieEnoHelpingProtectStreetKids

  • Comment number 54.

    In response to John's comments:

    "Someone breaking the law has an incentive to lie; so a child prostitute has a clear motive to pretend to be an adult".
    Accepted, but Alang herself states her age is 23, and the age given to the customer in 2005 was correct as 18: I see no relevance in you point. BBC 3 appears to have failed in its due diligence to check her ID and/or Family book.

    "But child prostitution did not end in 2005, as Rhoel implies."
    I did not imply.
    Please re-read... "Since 2004-5, a concerted effort funded by the US, Europe and Australia has tackled the child prostitution problem." Six years of concerted effort has substantially reduced this trade, though not totally eliminated it.

    This issue of this film is wild exageration dressed up as Fact, eg: the statement %25 - %30 of prostitutes are underage, a fact which even in 2005 was false. It's a fabrication, one which is the presenter and producer should be held accountable.

    "Rhoel should not dismiss the problem if only Cambodian men (rather than tourists) hire child prostitutes: such exploitation of children is still unacceptable." I don't dismiss this and have actively been involved in child protection within the country: I have a huge issue with irresponsible broadcasters and journalists misrepresenting the picture using decade old facts. I find it objectionable foreign journalists pay more for their luxury hotel accommodation than they pay their in-vision stars: It raises the exploitation word.

    "there's no obvious motive for a woman to say she was forced into the sex trade as a child": No-one has stated otherwise. What was stated was the time-line. This trafficking was at its peak prior to 2005, which is the period Alang talks about. The Police and other protection authorities now have and use powerful legal tools to combat it. No mention was made of this work, the custodial sentences of pimps and others involved in procurement of minors: last week, a defrocked monk was jailed for 17 years for releasing underage video of 2 children, covertly shot in a shower at a Wat.

    Perhaps John might have more respect to people who live in the country in question, who work professionally in this area, and are able to inform viewers of a program's deficiencies. It calls the program makers to professional accountability, ensuring what appears on viewers screen is an accurate picture. In this instant, it clearly wasn't.

    Your links:
    Al Jazeera report: Relates to Asian-for-Asian trade which has been widely covered in non-western press; I belive this was covered in my comment "What is left is an Asian for Asian service which is so underground, it's near impossible to infiltrate." Thank you for its confirmation. This was not covered by Ms Dooley and her team.

    www.foodsecurity.gov.kh/otherdocs/Workshop-Conceptnote.pdf: This report refers to the lack of eductation and Child Labour. The search suggest no references to prostitution by name in the report.

    SKY article: This article relates to street Kids and beach workers, and not the subject of this program. It is an issue affecting all third world countries, inducing Indonesia, Vietnam, Kenya and Brazil.

    Perhaps John might wish to provide verifiable documentary evidence from a reliable source which backs up any of the principle points in this program.

  • Comment number 55.

    This is in response to Rhoel's comments. Rhoel wrote "Alang herself states her age is 23, and the age given to the customer in 2005 was correct as 18: I see no relevance in you point". Rhoel seems to believe this but not Alang's comments to Stacey. I think it more likely that Alang's comments shown on TV are correct; if Alang told a customer in 2005 she was 18 (and subsequently confirmed this), Alang said this to protect herself from the law.

    Rhoel disagrees with evidence I cited earlier:
    "Al Jazeera report: Relates to Asian-for-Asian trade which has been widely covered in non-western press; I belive this was covered in my comment "What is left is an Asian for Asian service which is so underground, it's near impossible to infiltrate." Thank you for its confirmation. This was not covered by Ms Dooley and her team."
    But Stacey did cover this: about 41 minutes into the programme (still available on bbc.co.uk), Stacey asks who uses these brothels; the reply is "The majority is Cambodian clients".

    "www.foodsecurity.gov.kh/otherdocs/Workshop-Conceptnote.pdf: This report refers to the lack of eductation and Child Labour. The search suggest no references to prostitution by name in the report." But child prostitution is mentioned (Figure 1, page 5); page 7 says "The National Plan of Action on the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour (NPAWFCL), approved by Prime Minister Hun Sen on 16 June 2008, identified 16 sectors of hazardous child labour for immediate elimination. These sectors include unconditional WFCL, namely commercial sexual exploitation, trafficking and illegal drug related work".

    Rhoel wrote "This issue of this film is wild exageration dressed up as Fact, eg: the statement %25 - %30 of prostitutes are underage, a fact which even in 2005 was false. It's a fabrication, one which is the presenter and producer should be held accountable." There's plenty of evidence to support Stacey and her team, such as:

    * "In Cambodia, it has been estimated that about a third of all prostitutes are under 18."
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Child_prostitution

    * "Children, women and men still fall victim to trafficking within the country and outside of Cambodia’s borders."
    ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=51902

    * "In Cambodia, day by day about fifty thousand women and girls are subject to sexual exploitation, one third of which is younger than 18 years of age." www.fairplanet.net/2009/01/child-prostitution-in-cambodia/

    * "CWCC is dedicated to helping women and children who are the victims of rape, trafficking or domestic violence."
    www.unicef.org/infobycountry/cambodia_46747.html

    * "Traffickers often lure children by offering them toys, clothes and food, or simply abduct them."
    www.unifem.org/attachments/products/339_Chapter_4.pdf

    * "What kind of person sells her own daughter into slavery? In Cambodia, a deeply poor, corrupt nation still reeling from the bloody genocide perpetrated by the Khmer Rouge regime in the '70s, it's someone especially desperate." www.marieclaire.com/world-reports/news/international/diary-escaped-sex-slave

    Stacey's programme is consistent with available evidence. Rhoel accuses the programme makers of not doing enough research; but on 23rd October, Rhoel reports statistics which seem to support Stacey's comments:
    "* 100,000 prostitutes in Cambodia, 1/3 underage. Totally False. Data Sources US Anti Trafficking Reports, USAID, APNSW, et al.
    * 20,000 prostitutes in Phnom Penh, 25% underage. Totally False. National Cambodian Anti Trafficking Police/US Government figures, Annual Reports of regional Sex Health Workers, et al."
    Rhoel describes these as "Incorrect Facts", and seems to be rejecting statistics from international agencies such as USAID. If Rhoel really has local knowledge that the world could learn from, Rhoel should make it clear that he/she is criticising Stacey for reporting statistics which Rhoel disagrees with, but which most observers accept.

    I don't feel disrespectful towards Cambodians in general. I feel angry that a minority of men exploit children; such problems occur in every country, including UK.

  • Comment number 56.

    John wrote: "Rhoel describes these as "Incorrect Facts", .... which most observers accept."
    The fundamental problem is most observers do not accept. Unlike John, who cannot research his facts corrects (The Wikipedia estimated 1/3 figure, was published in 2005 from figures harvested in 2002. Wikipedia also incorrectly states age of consent as 16, again out of date), most observers are able to find up-to-date information.. My figures taken directly from NGO child protection organization taken on the ground in Cambodia, as late as 2009: Chanveasna Chin, Executive Director of ECPAT-Cambodia, states “the local demand for commercial sex in Cambodia is large ... but there is no information on the scale and extent of local demand”. Put simply, the actual figure is not know. The US Trafficking in Persons Report
    June 2007 (which is the latest) does not attempt to statistically quantify the actual number of trafficked persons.

    AFESIP, Agir pour les FEmmes en SItuation Precaire, is renowned for its efforts in combating trafficking in Cambodia. It works in 8 provinces around Cambodia, its outreach team regularly visits direct and indirect sex establishments to distribute condoms, lubricants, hygiene and sanitary items. In 2009, it reached 10,941 girls working in 1,046 sex establishments. Its undercover team monitored 349 girls at 230 sex establishments under suspicion. By John's estimated 1/3 guess, 110 girls should be underage. The reality was 12 (29 girls/cases) of 154 (256 girls/cases) resulted in legal action following reports filed to the police. Convictions were achieved for 8 cases involving 15 suspects. 29 out of 349 is 8% not 33%, which is Ms Dooleys stated figure. Her program was entitled Stacey Investigates trafficking in Cambodia. IT didn't investigate trafficking, it quoted rehashed out of date figures and ignored the current official reports. The NGO Joint Statistics Database Project on Trafficking for the Purpose of Commercial Sexual Exploitation and Rape, 2009 Report, indicates 27 [trafficking] NGOs have submitted 85 suspected sex trafficking incidences involving 109 victims that occurred in 2009. Unfortunately for John, that is the official figure. ECPAT interviews with Cambodian sex workers show the figure is higher but nowhere near the wild figure this program suggests.

    Now john might want to place his faith in outdated figures quoted in his references, some of which comes from as far back as Laura Bobak's, "For Sale: The Innocence of Cambodia," Ottawa Sun, 24 October 1996. He might take great solace from what the program makers tell him regarding ages, and ignore people in Phnom Penh who have seen Alang's ID card. He might wish to ignore the fact Alang says she was paid $65 a day whilst its crew stayed in luxury Hotel Cambodianna accommodation, starting at $99 a night. He will be ignorant that she in turn had to pay a fixer $15 a day for finding her the work. As a result, her end salary of $350 is hardly sufficient for the living expenses she will need her during her training.And he might wish to belittle people working on the front-line, here in Cambodia, people who have access to this sordid industry. It is his option. He might support the flat earth society for all I care, it matters not.

    What matters is program makers under the BBC Charter are obliged to get their facts right, to be objective and report responsibly. They clearly didn't. With a more experienced reporter, with better advisers on the ground (One of its key adviser NGOs has, in 2010, been public accused in court of criminal entrapment and falsifying information), and above all, more time, this program would have have been factual, and not received the harsh criticism which it is now facing.

    We both agree on one thing. We both have an anger at the minority of men (and women) who exploit children.

    I and many others on this blog disagree on third rate factual programming which deceived viewers.

    I will not further comment on John's comments.

  • Comment number 57.

    On 25th October, Rhoel implied child prostitution was never a very big problem in Cambodia:
    "This issue of this film is wild exageration dressed up as Fact, eg: the statement %25 - %30 of prostitutes are underage, a fact which even in 2005 was false. It's a fabrication, one which is the presenter and producer should be held accountable."
    Evidence in my earlier blogs suggests 25% to 30% is plausible. Wikipedia may not be the most reliable source, but other websites suggest a third of prostitutes are children.

    On 23rd October, Rhoel gave a different impression - that there was a problem, but it is now much improved:
    "NGO's once set up to tackle child prostitution, now face a changed environment, a country with one of the lowest underage rates in Asia. What is left is an Asian for Asian service which is so underground, its near impossible to infiltrate. Child sex for westerns was closed down, the "Cambodia - Underage Destination" no longer true. Whilst the organisations should be congratulated on this, it created a big problem ... effectively it put them out of a very well paid job. And herein is the problem; It was a business, a very good and profitable business worth many millions of dollars. The news "its gone" is not good for the balance sheet."
    Rhoel gives some credit to NGOs, but adopting such a hostile tone seems unhelpful. I think the fraction of prostitutes who are children has probably fallen in recent years, as Rhoel states.

    Rhoel's latest claim is that it's impossible to know the number of under-age prostitutes; I agree. But this suggests Rhoel had no evidence to claim on 25th October that Stacey reported "false" evidence.

    AFESIP and ECPAT, two organisations praised in Rhoel's latest comment, suggest problems remain:
    "Cambodia has weak law enforcement and is plagued with corruption, therefore progress can be difficult"
    www.afesip.org/docnews/ANNUAL_REPORT2009DPF.pdf p.28.

    "NGOs and government officials also repeatedly highlighted the lack of awareness among the general public about the 2008 law on trafficking and sexual exploitation, indicating that the majority of Cambodians may not even know that purchasing sex with children under 18 constitutes a form of sexual exploitation and is punishable by law."
    www.ecpatcambodia.org/documents/Research_on_Local_Demand_for_Commercial_Sex.pdf p.22.

    Judging by the comments on 23rd October, Rhoel may have local knowledge which could help prevent child abuse. If viewers or bloggers have evidence of such abuse, I wonder if the BBC could advise on the most appropriate agency to send information to. For trafficking, INTERPOL coordinates police forces: www.interpol.int/Public/THB/default.asp but I can't see an e-mail address to report abuses. The APLE website may be appropriate (see 'HOW YOU CAN HELP' in Stacey's blog, above).

    Rhoel discusses costs. I don't feel I could criticise BBC employees for staying in expensive hotels: I've visited Africa, Asia & S. America for my research, but I feel too scared to travel to some places Stacey visited (e.g. DRC Congo) - no matter how expensive the hotel is. I'm sure most people agree with Rhoel that it's unfair for most Cambodians to be so poor; but we can't blame Stacey & her team for poverty in Cambodia.

    I don't see any justification for Rhoel's criticisms of Stacey's programme, or the evidence she reported; the programme is helpful in warning male customers that it's illegal to hire prostitutes age under 18. But I think Rhoel raises some useful issues in these blogs, such as the difficulty of getting good data; the good work being carried out by several NGOs; and the reduction of the problem in recent years.

  • Comment number 58.

    For those who wish to read more about the current situation on Human Trafficking in Cambodia, today's [Wednesday, 27 October 2010] Phnom Penh Post article "Groups blast US sex-work policies" will be illuminating.

    The link to the online article is http://www.phnompenhpost.com/index.php/2010102744329/National-news/groups-blast-us-sex-work-policies.html.

  • Comment number 59.

    You people complaining are lucky - If you are working for an organisation trying to combat sex trafficking in Cambodia, you are not allowed to see this - even if you have been interviewed for the program. Letting the very people who made the program possible are not allowed to see it as that would violate the BBC's copyright. Is BBC still funded by you, the British taxpayer?

  • Comment number 60.

    Stacey Dooley appears to be a very nice person, she also seems to be completely out of her depth, naive, and incapable of any form of sophisticated analysis of the issues - you might as well have a child presenter - they would have as much idea as Stacey Dooley.

 

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