Listening to Local and Foreign Sex Buyers of Men and Women in Cambodia

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AUTHORS:

Samantha Sommer Miller, MAICS
Currently provides investigative consultation and training to faith-based organizations that are responding to allegations of child abuse and inappropriate behavior worldwide. Her research focuses on restorative justice and better understanding the demand segment of human trafficking.

Glenn Miles, PhD
Lecturer in Childhood Studies and Child Public Health at Swansea University in Wales, UK, and Senior Research Advisor for upQ International.

James Havey
Currently working in collaboration with an NGO called Chab Dai as an LGBTQ social activist and researcher studying international standards in after-care and re-integration services and the experiences of males who were formerly sex workers.

ABSTRACT

Research on prostitution and trafficking has largely focused on the exploitation of girls and young women. This research comes out of the “Listening to the Demand” two-part study by an independent research team on the sex industry in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. “Listening to the Demand” is a series of research exploring often over-looked populations in the anti-trafficking conversation, including men and transgender people. The first of the studies was completed in 2013 and focuses on men who purchased sex with female sex workers. Interviews of 50 Cambodian and 50 foreign heterosexual and bisexual males explored the respondents’ views and use of prostituted women in Southeast Asia’s sex industry. The second part of the research was completed in 2014 and focuses on men who purchase sex with men. In this second part of the project, 51 Cambodian and 23 foreign men who have sex with men were interviewed about their views of prostitution, the individual sex worker, and their experiences of Cambodia’s sex industry. Due to its comparative nature, the research seeks to deliver information on the differences in culture between the foreign and Cambodian men who seek to pay for sexual services. Results point to the need for proper sex and gender education as well as different approaches when planning projects to reach out to men purchasing sex. In gaining a deeper knowledge of the beliefs and behaviours among the demand population, the findings suggest more holistic approaches are needed to combat the exploitation of sexual services in Cambodia.