We (me and Massimo Morello) were really enraged last night. We were told on how some colleagues, or kind of, and obviously with a larger wallet and narrower experience, on a well paid assignment in Cambodia, were asking to visit the "brothel area" in Phnom Penh (there is not such thing here, although prostitution is widespread) possibly to catch pedophiles in action..
How can a professional be so narrow minded? How can he fall into such superficial reading of a tragic reality that is not unique to this country? What is this, "pedophiles wonderland"?
Reading the Italian newspapers these days one should think that trans-gression is as common in our Catholic nation as it is in here... At least here they post large billboards advising against it: do use child prostitution and you'll end in jail.. for good!
It's the same common place I have to face every time I say I'm based in Bangkok for months in a year: smiles, chit-chat, requests of practical indications. Like if the Orient has one thing only: long strips full of brothels. And brothels full of children for sale. Come on!
Yes, this is a tragic problem (of which, by the way, our magazine refuse to talk because it's well too known, and not interesting anymore!!) but is common to many parts of the world. To our cities suburbs, per instance (see my post on Vigevano, for once).
But this problem has a different background in this part of Asia (also different dimensions, I agree) and is part of a cultural reality that deserves to be analyzed. Asia, and South East Asia are a complex reality that is more vital, both economically and socially, then the west. They are overtaking us, guys!!!
So, stop thinking of this part of the world as a gigantic open-air brothel: this is the Asia Century going fast.. with a lot of problems and contradictions yes! That's the larger story! Dear colleagues, read more and open your mind..
(By the way, for those who need indications.. this picture was taken last Friday, in remote Koh Kong. There there is a brothel alley, with huts hided in the countryside, full of young, destitute girls. They wait for Indonesian sailors, and costs 4 Euro an hour. No telephone though.)