Nicholas Kristof has a chilling op-ed in the New York Times titled The Evil Behind the Smiles. He writes that wealthy travelers who visit poor countries often are approached by young girls who coax them toward brothels. While some may be acting “voluntarily” – something that is not legally possible for a girl of like age in those travelers home nations – many are like Sina Vann who:
…mostly followed instructions and smiled alluringly at men because she would have been beaten if men didn’t choose her. But sometimes she was in such pain that she resisted, and then she said she would be dragged down to a torture chamber in the basement.
“Many of the brothels have these torture chambers,” she said. “They are underground because then the girls’ screams are muffled.”
Sina now works with Somaly Mam, a former enslaved prostitute who now runs shelters for rescued girls – more about her in this video by Kristof that includes some alarming facts about child sexual slavery. Somaly also wrote a book called The Road of Lost Innocence.
Once, we made a film in Cambodia, about child prostitution, in a village called Svay Pak, just weeks after it had been raided by the police, and their brothels became the sets for our film.
You can view the rest of her photos of the making of Holly. Here’s information about Holly from Priority Films – the trailer seemed to load better at MetaCafe and there’s also a video on the making of Holly.
This is truly a sickening stain on the human condition and I fervently agree with Kristof when he hopes that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton will recognize slavery as unfinished business on the foreign policy agenda.