Some countries, including Thailand - long considered the world's child-sex capital - are cracking down on the trade. While having sex with a child is illegal, law enforcement is ineffective.Efforts to stop the trade are undercut by corrupt officials and by Hun Sen's Cambodian People's Party government, which so far has been loath to interrupt the windfall of a "tourism" industry worth millions a year.But when a photographer who has accompanied Majumdar begins to take some pictures, the pimp and his bodyguards draw guns, thinking Majumdar and the photographer are undercover informants.Thinking fast, the visitors defuse the situation by telling the angry pimp the pictures are for their business - organizing sex tours out of Thailand. Later, we head into downtown Phnom Penh to a popular nightclub, the Martini Pub.Back in March, the government had closed most of the 50-odd Svay Pak brothels - known for housing underaged Vietnamese girls - in an effort to clean up the country's growing image as a pedophile's paradise.Our car turns right down a steep and bumpy hill, and at the bottom we are jolted back to reality.The Vietnamese, who ruled for 10 years ending in 1989, did little to improve things.
"Some men are fascinated by sleeping with virgins - they get excited thinking that they're the first to show a pre-pubescent girl how to have sex," says Beth Hedva, a Calgary psychologist who has studied the child-sex industry.
"A generation grew up in an environment where people did anything to survive.
They didn't learn morals." Most Cambodians are also desperately poor - per capita annual income is about 0.
They head straight for the luxury hotel across the street.
ACCORDING TO United Nations estimates, tens of thousands of children (under 18) are forced into the sex trade around the world each year.