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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sadistic child molesters, brutal pimps, traumatized children, 9 July 2009
This review is from: The Road Of Lost Innocence (Paperback)
Somaly Mam's autobiography is both terrible and terrifying, as we see what members of mankind (parents, traffickers, pimps, government officials) do and are allowed to do with innocent children (even their own). She also paints a bleak picture of her mother country, Cambodia.

Sex trade
The sale of women and female children has always existed in Cambodia.
Parents consider their offspring as money on legs, an asset, as cattle. A 12-year old virgin girl can be sold for 50 to 100 US$ or used as a deposit for a loan or to pay back debt.
Virgins are especially wanted because men believe that raping a virgin will cure them of Aids (instead, the child is infected), keep them strong, lengthen their lifespan and lighten their skin. People consider that keeping a virgin or a minor in a luxurious brothel is a status symbol (!).
Once sold into a brothel, no law, no police, no justice can protect the child. It becomes the slave of a violent pimp: `Now I see girls in brothels with nails hammered into their skull.'

Women's fate
Women are considered as servants. They have to show full obedience to their father and husband. Being beaten is a part of a `normal' life. Marriage becomes a prison.
In general, women don't like to make love and remain passive.

Cambodia
The Cambodians are traumatized by decades of war: `To survive you must be silent.' Nobody can be trusted. People can use your words to betray you.
Actually, the country is in the ban of moral bankruptcy. `Corruption is like a gangrene at the heart of the legal and the police system.' The police are involved in the sex trade as owners, guards, protectors and clients.
The revenues of prostitution equal the annual State budget. Traffickers are so rich that they are more powerful than the law. Judges are bribed.
Under the communist government (after the Red Khmer regime) schools (a real way out of poverty) and health care were free. Now, everything is for sale, even doctor's diplomas. Education is only for the offspring of the wealthy few.

The whole book bathes in an atmosphere of racism (against dark-skinned people).

This intensely moving `human' tragedy gives an extremely gloomy impression of (a part of) mankind. But, there is hope. One brilliant star at the firmament, Somaly Mam, and her courageous actions made the sex traders loose all respect. Now, her organization can sometimes beat the culprits in court.
Her book is a must read for all those interested in human nature and the world we live in.
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Luc REYNAERT
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   

Location: Beernem, Belgium

Top Reviewer Ranking: 645