A mother in Cambodia told CNN in an interview that she sold her virgin daughter to a human trafficker for $500. Prior to sale, the mother took the child to a doctor and had her examined to ensure that the hymen was still intact. After the examination, the doctor issued a “certificate of virginity” that was presented at the time of sale.
Another child in Cambodia who was sold by her mother stated to CNN that her mother received $800 after being delivered to a man at a hotel room in Phnom Phen. She also was taken to a hospital and issued a certificate.
In both cases, the families had emergencies that lead them to selling their daughter. In the first case, the father of the family had medical issues surrounding tuberculosis that prevented him from working. In order to help ends meet, the family took out a $200 loan from a loan shark. The debt quickly ballooned to over $9,000. Seeing no other options, the mother decided to sell her daughter’s virginity. In the interview, the mother feels regret and said that she would not choose that path again if given a chance.
In the second instance, a storm damaged the house and fish farm of the family and thus eliminated their source of income. Unable to eat, the family also took out a loan from a loan shark that quickly ballooned to $6,000. After the money lenders visited their house and threatened the family, the mother decided to sell her child’s virginity when she was approached by a woman.
In order to understand the scope of the debt facing the families, half of Cambodia’s population lives on less than $2 per day.
UNICEF estimates that there are 40,000 to 100,000 people working in Cambodia’s sex industry, with about a third of them being children.
Source: Tim Hume, Lisa Cohen and Mira Sorvino, “The women who sold their daughters into sex slavery,” CNN, December 10, 2013.