Thursday, September 9, 2010

Brothel Bust

Street 63 brothel raid
Police lead girls wearing masks to van
This afternoon I witnessed a brothel bust here in Phnom Penh. Just happened across it as I walked up the street on my afternoon constitutional. The police raided a house amongst the strip of karaoke joints on Street 63, an area known for its brothel-like activities. Places that cater primarily to Cambodians and Vietnamese.

It was a peaceful bust from what I could see standing across the street. The police spent at least an hour in the place, presumably taking photos and gathering evidence. At one point the MPs showed up escorting some high ranking police or official, but they eventually moved on. At the end the gates of the house slid open wide and people began to emerge. The police led a half dozen working girls, all wearing
Gawkers at Street 63 brothel raid
Gawkers like me
surgical masks, to a waiting van. Two children wandered out of the house nonchalantly and tried to disappear on the back of a motodup, but the police collected them and put them in the van too. They also arrested what appeared to be the mama and papason, putting them in a separate vehicle with the officer in charge. The police locked the front gates, tagged it and left.

These days this sort of thing is neither new nor uncommon. The Cambodian police have been using the anti-pimping laws for several years now, and to some significant effect. There are still plenty of prostitutes working the bars and clubs in Phnom
Street 63 brothel raid
Police spot escaping children
Penh, and even on the streets in some areas, but regardless of what some NGOs may tout, the days of red light districts and the open brothel has long passed in the city, save a few comparatively small protected exceptions, like this little string of mostly Vietnamese places along 63. And today the civilian police raided one of those places, presumably because it was operating as a brothel or involved in trafficking.

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