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Major Factors Fueling Child Prostitution

Majority of South Asian countries including Cambodia are known for prostitution. This country is estimated to have approximately 90,000 prostitutes of which 30% are children below the age of 18. Child prostitution is said to have shifted from Thailand to Cambodia as a result of the strict laws and penalties against perpetrators of child prostitution in Thailand. Sadly this vice is also thought to be a chief tourist attraction to most westerners.   
 One of the major factors fueling child prostitution is poverty. Even though Cambodia’s economy has been growing significantly over the past ten years, the rate of poverty on the population is still high. Many Cambodians find it hard to make ends meet. Most parents opt even to sell their own daughters to traffickers to make ends meet. Other parents are tricked by these same traffickers into believing the child would be employed as a domestic worker.
Local beliefs have also played a hand in Child prostitution.  According to traditional Asian beliefs, when one sleeps with a virgin or a child, he will be cured of his illness. Locals even believe this is one of the most effective methods of curing HIV/AIDS. Such a misconception has not only led to endangering the lives of children, but also rapid spread of this incurable illness.
The Media in Cambodia has failed to report child prostitution cases while international media only focuses on those cases that affect foreigners. This has not helped in any way to control this evil vice that affects mostly young girls from Cambodia and its neighboring countries.
Complete lack of or slow response by the government to this endemic does not help the situation at all. Very few offenders have been punished over the past few years.  This factor has even demoralized rape and abuse victims from reporting their predicaments to the police. This however does not imply that the situation is beyond control. Many nongovernmental organizations have come out to fight this vice. Many lucky girls as young as 5 have been rescued and now enjoy basic education in child shelters all across Cambodia.
In order to get rid of this vice once and for all, the international community should fight to ensure that the rights of all children are respected. Cruel acts like child trafficking and sexual exploitation should be banned globally. 

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