Women selling their own virgin daughters into sex slavery in Cambodia

Nancy P. just posted this article from CNN on Facebook. I am working from home today while sick, so I’ll leave it to you to reflect on this horror story.


When a poor family in Cambodia fell afoul of loan sharks, the mother asked her youngest daughter to take a job. But not just any job.

The girl, Kieu, was taken to a hospital and examined by a doctor, who issued her a “certificate of virginity.” She was then delivered to a hotel, where a man raped her for two days.

Kieu was 12 years old.

“I did not know what the job was,” says Kieu, now 14 and living in a safehouse. She says she returned home from the experience “very heartbroken.” But her ordeal was not over.

After the sale of her virginity, her mother had Kieu taken to a brothel where, she says, “they held me like I was in prison.”

She was kept there for three days, raped by three to six men a day. When she returned home, her mother sent her away for stints in two other brothels, including one 400 kilometers away on the Thai border. When she learned her mother was planning to sell her again, this time for a six-month stretch, she realized she needed to flee her home.

“Selling my daughter was heartbreaking, but what can I say?” says Kieu’s mother, Neoung, in an interview with a CNN crew that travelled to Phnom Penh to hear her story.

[…]Kieu’s relative, Sephak, who lives nearby, is another survivor. (CNN is naming the victims in this case at the request of the girls themselves, as they want to speak out against the practice of child sex trafficking.)

Sephak was 13 when she was taken to a hospital, issued a certificate confirming her virginity, and delivered to a Chinese man in a Phnom Penh hotel room. She was returned after three nights. Sephak says her mother was paid $800.

“When I had sex with him, I felt empty inside. I hurt and I felt very weak,” she says. “It was very difficult. I thought about why I was doing this and why my mom did this to me.” After her return, her mother began pressuring her daughter to work in a brothel.

[…]Not far away from Sephak’s family home, connected to the shore via a haphazard walkway of planks that dip beneath the water with each footfall, is the houseboat where Toha grew up.

The second of eight children, none of whom attend school, Toha was sold for sex by her mother when she was 14. The transaction followed the same routine: medical certificate, hotel, rape.

About two weeks after she returned to Svay Pak, she says, the man who had bought her virginity began calling, requesting to see her again. Her mother urged her to go. The pressure drove her to despair.

“I went to the bathroom and cut my arms. I cut my wrists because I wanted to kill myself,” Toha says. A friend broke down the door to the bathroom and came to her aid.

[…]On her houseboat, as squalls of rain lash the river, Toha’s mother Ngao sits barefoot before the television taking pride of place in the main living area, and expresses similar regrets. On the wall hangs a row of digitally enhanced portraits of her husband and eight children. They are dressed in smart suits and dresses, superimposed before an array of fantasy backdrops: an expensive motorcycle, a tropical beach, an American-style McMansion.

Life with so many children is hard, she says, so she asked her daughter to go with the men.

She would not do the same again, she says, as she now has access to better support; Agape International Missions offers interest-free loan refinancing to get families out of the debt trap, and factory jobs for rescued daughters and their mothers.

“Toha’s mother Ngao sits barefoot before the television”. Televeision? I have no words for this selfishness. Eight children? I don’t have any children, and have not even had any sex! This catastrophe is a result of the decisions of that wife and husband. If you live in a poor country, you have to have self-control about sex. It’s not too much to ask, I’m doing it myself, for goodness’ sake. Agape International Missions sounds curiously like a Christian charity organization. I’m not surprised.

People sometimes ask me why people become atheists, and I think I can understand why the people who did this to their daughter, and the men who raped her, would not want to be held accountable by a just and Holy God in the afterlife. After all, if atheism is true, then the people who wronged this young woman won’t be held accountable. On atheism, right and wrong are just cultural conventions that vary by time and place. If you can get away with doing these things in your society, because it’s not forbidden or because you are clever and strong enough to not get caught, then there is nothing stopping you from doing that. If you feel like not doing it, fine. If you feel like doing it, fine. Other humans are just random collections of atoms coughed up accidentally by evolution in an accidental universe. They have no human rights, because there are no such things in a materialistic universe. Atheists who speak about morality are writing checks that will bounce when cashed against their worldview. They can’t help themselves to notions that are not rationally grounded by their worldview, and we should hold them accountable.

That’s the scary thing about atheists. They have no way to condemn what’s going on here, because this is normal in that society. They think that raping little children is not objectively wrong. It is OK in some times and places, and not OK in others. There is no standard that exists objectively that they can appeal to to say how humans ought to behave. They look at something like this story and think to themselves “that might be OK for you in your society, but it’s not OK for me. But I will have an abortion though, because that’s ok for me when and where I am”. I can’t believe that there are people in the world who look around at things like this and cannot apprehend the objective moral law, but maybe, like the people who hurt that girl, they have reasons for not wanting to acknowledge it. I can guarantee you this. Neither that woman, nor her husband, nor the men who raped her want to see God in the face when they die. For them, this life is all there is, of necessity. Scary.

According to one page I looked at, 95% of Cambodians are Theravada Buddhists, which is atheistic. This place is an atheist paradise. This is what the Freedom From Religion Foundation dreams about. Funny that they don’t move there and stop suing Christians for putting up nativity scenes here.

11 thoughts on “Women selling their own virgin daughters into sex slavery in Cambodia”

  1. Moral relativism…basically the best way to destroy a civilization. This is depressing…How can a mother do this to her own children…I can’t wrap my head around it.


  2. Not to mention atheists believe in dualism and don’t believe in the concept of free will so, any decisions made by a person was beyond his or her consciousness and purely primal nature.


    1. You mean materialism, not dualism. Dualism means you have a body and a non-material soul, and therefore free will. It’s all very self-serving, isn’t it? Materialism, I mean. You take the abilities of a soul and use it to gain pleasure and then deny the responsibilities to the One who gives you the gifts.


    2. This country is also to the left on economics, so no wonder they are poor. Former communist countries like Cambodia tend to discourage economic growth by centralizing power in the federal government. Even today you can see India (formerly socialist) keeping Wal-Mart out because they refuse to submit to heavy government mandates. You need to trade with others if you want jobs to be created in your country. That’s what gets wealth to flow in. Foreign aid does practically nothing to help the poor.


  3. Cambodia is a devastated country. What happened under the Khmer Rouge is still not fully understood and those who survived suffer serious emotional problems. The estimates of people suffering from PTSD are disturbingly high. Atheism certainly was partly to blame for the devastation but not for stories like this. Though Theravada Buddhists are technically atheists most Cambodian people are not just Buddhists. The country is a stew of syncretism. Hinduism, Buddhism, and Animism all are combined. That means polytheism, ancestor worship, shamanism, appeasing evil spirits, etc. are common and every family is different. Also, the general disposition is one of internalizing pain and suffering and doing what is “good for the family” both of which are mostly foreign to the West. These dispositions make it easy for predators to get by with the unspeakable evil being mentioned in the article.


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