By Kevin Leland
Here is a bit of information on Cambodia, a third world country. To show how some rich (relative to Cambodians) white (relative to Cambodians) Americans feign concern with an obvious underlying attitude of apathy, it includes a blog post by a couple who visited this poor nation on their world-traveling honeymoon, earlier this year. It’s interesting to see how this young American couple reacts to the poverty. They are “humbled” by it, and forced to feel grateful for their quality of life here in America. But then, soon after the short-lived, obligatory “guilt trip” -they thoroughly enjoy exploiting the shit out of Cambodia’s poor, young, “grungy” children.
It’s amazing to me that this couple was hired a few months ago to work with disabled people, through the Howard Center in Vermont. This job must have just fell in their laps like a four-year-old Cambodian beggar, because during their trip, Leah Pence seemed to have no clue as to what she was going to do for work, according to this statement:
When I get a job- at some point- back in the US- somewhere- I am hoping to reflect back on our trip and remember these moments... Leah Pence
You would think the $25,000 per year they receive from our own government to be personal care providers to a disabled young adult and good friend of mine, who might otherwise be in a similar situation as these impoverished children of Cambodia…would afford them a little more sympathy. Can you say “meal ticket?” I thoughtcha could!
To hear this talk of pre-school aged children being coaxed to sit in their laps to beg them for a dollar bill, along with how lucky they were to find a $50 per night hotel in the midst of the “red light” district, in Thailand, where child prostitution runs rampant…makes me wonder how they passed a pre-employment background check conducted by the Howard Center. Maybe not, because I know from personal experience that the Howard center has it’s own ‘in house’ way of investigating potential employees, and they conduct background checks on job applicants without following the rules set forth by the FCRA.
This nation was caught in the crossfire, during the Vietnam War, and became “collateral damage.” They suffered secret bombings and cross-border incursions. In 1975, when the Khmer Rouge regime seized power; they massacred about twenty percent of their own citizens in a crazed act of genocide.
Because of this horrific and senseless violence of the Khmer Rouge era, to this day, Cambodia has a very young and poor population. The median age is 21.7 years, and only 3.6% of the population is over the age of 65. (In comparison, 12.6% of American citizens are over 65.)
Out of fairness, I want readers to note that Jon Pence likes to drink, and as he admits, quite a few cheap beers were the muse for his jaded, negative reflection that I am posting here. I have also included the link below, that will take you to the source of the original posts. As an investigative Blogger, I want my readers to know that I’m always careful not to post peoples’ words out of context. I appreciate the same respect shown to me.
All of this being said after my share of $0.60 beers so the next entry may be a bit more postiive – haha, I can’t help but review my writings thus far and feel as though I’m a bit jaded in hour #8, or whatever it is so I must say I’m still extremely excited about seeing the sights inside the capital (Phnom Phen tmrw) and outside – does anybody know what this entails? Come on…you must of at least heard about what is here?? Well if you don’t, ya best read up on Angkor Wat in the days to come – one of the best preserved wats (temples) in the world…after all, that’s why we came here – can’t wait for more youngins chasin our dollar!
By Jonathan Pence, Project Manager at Dealer.com
Yeah Jon, as a matter of fact most people know exactly what is there:
Unofficial estimates say that there are as many as 15,000 prostituted persons in Phnom Penh, and that up to 35% of them have been smuggled into Cambodia from China or Vietman, mostly from the southwestern provinces of Vietnam (Long An, An Giang, Song Be, Kien Giang, Dong Thap, Can Tho and Ho Chi Minh City). Brothel owners pay traffickers from US$350 to $450 (8,750 to 11,250 baht) for each attractive Vietnamese virgin 16 years or younger. Non-virgins and those considered less beautiful are sold from $150 to $170 each (3,750 to 4,250 baht).
Girls bound by contacts to a brothel owner have their debt to the brothel owner subtracted from the number of customers serviced. It may take from six months to a year or more to work off this debt. The fees that have been paid to their families, trafficking agents, and border guards compound the total debt. Once all debts are paid off, the prostituted person makes from $2 to $3 [50 to 75 baht] per customer, this is after the brother owner has taken their own cut. (“The Street of Little Flowers,” rewritten from ‘Children of the Dust,’ by MIKEL FLAMM and NGO KIM CUC, Bangkok Post, 23 February 1997