My story in Cambodia’s sex capital Part 2
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During the next 30 min. or so the man who initially thought I was a sex tourist and had asked me all the questions told me he was the pastor/missionary of the Rahab house. In fact, where we sat was the same brothel that had been raided and shut down by IJM and the Cambodian authorities 5 years earlier. He stood up and showed me where the rooms/cells used to be and explained how dark it was in there and how the ceilings were low with just one little lamp lighting the whole place. The little girls would be in their rooms/cells terrified as the men would walk down the hallways picking out who they were going to rape that night.
He then showed me a small room pictured above, that they had left in its original state when the Rabah house was a brothel. He pointed to the bed and told me that there were two little girls in that room/cell when the brothel had been raided. He spoke of two other girls who used to be in that same room, both had died while being held there. One died of AIDS and the other he was not sure about. Now this bed was filled with toy’s, crafts and kids supplies and children went in there with life and excitement instead of force and terror.
The Rahab house stands in the middle of this nightmare of a town still surrounded by gangsters and other brothels that imprison children. It stands as a light and hope to this community. Pastor told me that when he first got there he would make sure that he was in and locked up before nightfall because of all the gang activity and danger there. Now he is not afraid, but gets in discussions and arguments with the female brothel owners who are mad at him for ruining their business. He asks them “is your business good, or is it bad?” He knows that they know it is bad and he is there to see it stopped.
The Rahab house is a church. It is a medical clinic. They do home visits, sponsor children to go to the local private school and is somewhat of a voluntarily staffed drop in center. In fact, three of the girls who volunteer there were former sex slaves who were raped and abused in that same building when it ran as a brothel.
I ended my meeting with this Cambodian Pastor honored to have met a man like him. One who would move his wife and child out to this notorious small town in the middle of Cambodia where he had no friends or family, but had the desire to see change. He smiled and called me brother and asked me not to forget him or the Rahab house. I prayed for him, which to be honest felt weak and powerless next to what he has done and then I got back on my moto and drove off, once again knowing that everyone who I passed viewed me as just another white, Christian American sex tourist that was coming into their town and raping little girls.
I end this post with a quote from an American guy at the Bangkok airport. He was on the same plane as me from Cambodia and was telling another man that all he did while in Cambodia was “eat, drink and fuck.” I wanted to reach out and choke him, or at least inform him that those girls didn’t want to have sex with him, but were forced to. I don’t think it would have made any difference; it would have just frustrated me more and ticked him off. I love Cambodia and plan on doing more there in the near future with good friends who want to see change happen as well, but until then I will tell the stories of others who are there making a difference.