"But for me, I feel very bad." The men who abuse the children of Svay Pak fit a number of profiles.They include pedophile sex tourists, who actively seek out sex with prepubescent children, and more opportunistic "situational" offenders, who take advantage of opportunities in brothels to have sex with adolescents.She says she returned home from the experience "very heartbroken." But her ordeal was not over.After the sale of her virginity, her mother had Kieu taken to a brothel where, she says, "they held me like I was in prison." She was kept there for three days, raped by three to six men a day.UNICEF estimates that children account for a third of the 40,000-100,000 people in the country's sex industry.Svay Pak, a dusty shantytown on the outskirts of the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh, is at the heart of this exploitative trade.
CNN Freedom Project and Mira Sorvino, award-winning actress and human rights activist, investigate.Sex tourists tend to hail from affluent countries, including the West, South Korea, Japan and China, but research suggests Cambodian men remain the main exploiters of child prostitutes in their country.Mark Capaldi is a senior researcher for Ecpat International, an organization committed to combating the sexual exploitation of children."I don't know what to do now, because we cannot move back to the past." It is this aspect of Cambodia's appalling child sex trade that Don Brewster, a 59-year-old American resident of the neighborhood, finds most difficult to countenance."I can't imagine what it feels like to have your mother sell you, to have your mother waiting in the car while she gets money for you to be raped," he says.But the majority of sexual exploitation of children is of adolescents, and that's taking place in commercial sex venues." The abusers would often be local, situational offenders, he says.Research suggests some of the Asian perpetrators are "virginity seekers," for whom health-related beliefs around the supposedly restorative or protective qualities of virgins factor into their interest in child sex.Like other local mothers CNN spoke to, she blames poverty for her decision to sell her daughter, saying a financial crisis drove her into the clutches of the traffickers who make their livelihoods preying on Cambodian children."It was because of the debt, that's why I had to sell her," she says."In most cases when we talk about child sexual exploitation, it's taking place within the adult sex industry," says Capaldi."We tend to often hear reports in the media about pedophilia, exploitation of very young children.