Virginity for Sale: Inside Cambodia’s Shocking Trade

HUMAN RIGHTS SOCIETY

By Abigail Haworth for The Observer on July 5, 2014—
Cambodia: Virgin trade
Dara Keo, in the room she rents with her mother and sister in a Phnom Penh slum. Through a broker, her mother sold Dara’s virginity when Dara was only 12 Photograph: Will Baxter

Vannith Uy is the owner of what translates from Khmer as a “mobile nail salon”, although the word salon is a stretch. It’s a bicycle with a plastic crate on the back filled with hand lotions and nail polishes. Uy, 42, rides it around her Phnom Penh neighbourhood – a tangle of alleys near the river where the residents’ domestic lives spill out of their open front doors – until a customer flags her down. She performs a manicure or pedicure on the spot, sitting on a plastic stool by the side of the street.

Three years ago, when she arrived from the countryside, Uy had a different plan. She wanted to open…

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