Ang krang

Opening the New York Times I’m rewarded by Nicholas Kristof’s account of his latest descent into the hellish world of third-world sex slavery.

In this episode, our hero visits Cambodia where he is shown around (don’t say escorted) by a former prostitute named Sina Vann.
I had heard about torture chambers under the brothels but had never seen one, so a few days ago Sina took me to the red-light district here where she once was imprisoned. A brothel had been torn down, revealing a warren of dungeons underneath.

How does Kristof know he’s looking at dungeons, and not some ordinary rooms?
“I was in a room just like those,” she said, pointing. “There must be many girls who died in those rooms.” She grew distressed and added: “I’m cold and afraid. Tonight I won’t sleep.”
Make the mark feel sympathy.
“Photograph quickly,” she added, and pointed to brothels lining the street. “It’s not safe to stay here long.”

Bond with the mark by creating a sense of shared danger.

As in many brothels, the torture of choice was electric shocks. Sina would be tied down, doused in water and then prodded with wires running from the 220-volt wall outlet...Shocks fit well into the brothel business model because they cause agonizing pain and terrify the girls without damaging their looks or undermining their market value.

After the beatings and shocks, Sina said she would be locked naked in a wooden coffin full of biting ants. The coffin was dark, suffocating and so tight that she could not move her hands up to her face to brush off the ants. Her tears washed the ants out of her eyes.

She was locked in the coffin for a day or two at a time, and she said this happened many, many times.
I’ve yet to manage a brothel, but storing the slaves in biting-ant torture-coffins when they could be having sex makes absolutely no sense financially, and you think it would damage their looks.
Finally, Sina was freed in a police raid, and found herself blinded by the first daylight she had seen in years. The raid was organized by Somaly Mam, a Cambodian woman who herself had been sold into the brothels but managed to escape, educate herself and now heads a foundation fighting forced prostitution.
Make a donation.

Despite the sex slavery and the torture, Sina still laughs - about being a whore.
Sina and Somaly sustain themselves with a wicked sense of humor. They tease each other mercilessly, with Sina, who is single, mock-scolding Somaly: “At least I had plenty of men until you had to come along and rescue me!”

That is funny. What an amazing story!


  1. I love you! (long time! :-)

    Awesome contribution to the wisdom field. You're a global treasure. All hail CVC!


  2. Kristof does come off as credulous. Seems the young lady did a good job of ingratiating herself to Mr. Kristof. Perhaps she's better at her job than he is at his. Journalists are supposed to be skeptical, after all.

    As for the "Western men" angle, Kristof fails to mention that the brothels are popular with native Thai men, Japanese, Chinese, Koreans, Arabs, etc. Westerners are a minority of their customers.

  3. Happy New Year, Mnuez.

    I'm with you on the "Western Men" angle, Welmer. It's a ploy to make us feel guilty and responsible for conditions other countries choose to tolerate, if not encourage.

  4. "It's a ploy to make us feel guilty and responsible for conditions other countries choose to tolerate, if not encourage."

    Yeah, and hasn't Kristof also wrote tearjerking articles about Darfur, with the implication that we in the West are just as responsible as the Sudanese for that tragedy because of our inaction?

    How I am suppose to be able to stop Arabs from being nasty to their Negroes? I can't even get the local ex-Camel Jockey who runs the gas station I go to to refill the windshield washing fluid by the pumps.

  5. Didn't laught this much since the premiere of Bad Taste...


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