AIS4028 Women and Development in Asia
Topic: Feminization of Poverty: A study of sex and tourism in Cambodia
- Introduction to feminization of poverty
- What is a problem?
- Why is a problem?
- Prevalence of sex and tourism in SEA
- Significance of study
- Why Cambodia?
- Why sex tourism?
- Research questions
- Why exists?
- When and where exists?
- Why related to feminization of poverty?
- Arguments + analysis
- All solutions (Are those solution workable?) - Effectiveness confined to:
- weak enforcement of law
- interfere of NGOs?
- Find out best solutions & reasons
E. Limitation of study
Some draft ideas of the presentation
Problem: Contributing factors
1. a) 35.9% of the population lived under the poverty line (Asian Development Bank
2002 cited in Thomas 2003: 186)
2. High cost of protracted civil war by Khmer Rouge’s genocidal regime
3. a) Lack basic support service especially rural areas, few options for survival
b) Girls are forced to join the sexual industry because of poverty (confirms by
Frances Finnegan cited in Thomas 2003:192). Some girls are bought into brothels
by their parents, and some are even willing to be sold because they think that will
benefit their families in order to pay the family debts (Bobak 1996; Thomas
c) 1/3 girls aged below 18 (Oxfam cited in Thomas 2003)
d) Sell lands, asset, deceived into sex-worker
1. Increasing number of international tourist arrivals (120,000 in 1993 to 352,000 in
- forecast of reaching 3.2 million by 2010 (WTO 2004)
2. Hodgson mentions sex tourism involves the systematic and deliberate exploitation
of many women and children who are pushed by economic condition
National Director of End Child Prostitution in Asian Tourism (ECPAT) says many
tourists come to Cambodia to take advantage of the poverty and vulnerability of
3. Number of prostitutes (6000 in 1990 to 80,000-100,000 in 2000) but some
Cambodian intelligence suggests that it could be as many as 300,000-500,000
(Reaksmey 1996 cited in Thomas 2003: 191)
Ø Corruption / Weak enforcement of law
1. Low salary to servants, high possibility to have bribery
2. Many traffickers are protected by well-connected, underpaid police force that
allows the business to continue in a “silent” way (Thomas 2003: 186)
1. Free trade, increase gap between rich and poor countries
2. Economic opportunities for developing countries
Sex Tourism in Cambodia
Ø Standard charge for a prostitute US$1.0 and US$300 for a virgin (much cheaper than in
other nearby countries such as Vietnam and Thailand (Thomas 2003: 189)
Ø easily prone to sexually transmitted diseases
HIV and AIDS, 100,000-120,000 Cambodians were HIV positive in 1996
Why related to feminization of poverty?
1. higher labour participation rate 74.5% in 2008 (one of the highest in SEA) (UN data (n.d.))
? female tend to withdraw from education earlier
male and female do not have equal access to education ? poverty ? vicious cycle
2. women earn money by engaging in prostitutions
increasing role in women-headed households
Discussion of possible solutions
With the bad effects and more and more serious situation of sex tourism in Cambodia, many stakeholders also make efforts to prevent sex tourism. The different kinds of interventions to counter sax tourism can be divided into three broad categories: prevention, protection and prosecution
Prevention of sex tourism include the improvement of education, the reduction of poverty, raising awareness in the public and provide support from community.
Protection mainly means to provide protection for the victims of sex tourism, like providing shelters, health care and mental health support, counseling serve, rehabilitation and help victims to back the society.
Prosecution includes rescue, investigation, arrest, deportation and the law of tourism. Prosecution could be mainly done by government and polices.
Analysis of the measurement:
from government side and NGO side.
Limitation of study
@ unable to do field work to obtain primary data
~ cannot fully explain the relationship between sex tourism and women poverty
@ may overlook the inequalities in the household (Brickell 2008: 301)
Paul Leung. 2003. “Sex Tourism: The Case of Cambodia.” Pp181-193 in Sex and
Tourism, edited by Thomas and Bob Mckercher. New York: The Haworth Hospitality Press.