King Urges Mothers to Protect Their Daughters

King Norodom Sihanouk ap­pealed to Cambodia’s impoverished mothers to protect their daughters from being trafficked for prostitution and slave work in neighboring countries.

In an open letter dated Mon­day, the King urged women to “avoid the deceit of dishonest people’s poisonous consoling and sweet words before deciding to let your daughters work or be wives in Malaysia, Vietnam Tai­wan…etc.”

In recent months, several Cambodian women have been repatriated after working as indentured sex workers in Malaysia. But rights workers warn that many young women continue to be tricked or forced into prostitution and other exploitative trades.

In Taiwan, the King said, “Your daughters had their passports taken away and were sold to brothels to serve as prostitutes.”

He said that in Malaysia, some young women who were enticed to work there have be­come “absolute servants, working without relaxing, while hundreds of girls work as prostitutes, selling fresh blood and skin for their [owner’s] interests.”

And in Vietnam fe­male beggars from Cambodia tarnish the country’s dignity, he said.

King Sihanouk called on the poor to protect their reputation and the honor of their family and nation, adding that honest work—even if it is low-paying—can be prestigious.

“A foreign proverb says that ‘poverty’ is not the cause of a bad reputation, but the corrupted men and dishonest businessmen who use unjust and illegal means have no [worthy] reputation, even if they have the largest properties,” he said. “The corrupted men damage the national interests and the nation’s honor.”


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