Phnom Penh Anti-Trafficking Police yesterday questioned a mother and her daughter who appeared in a documentary titled ‘My mother sold me’ after the news video went viral, causing an uproar.
The video, produced by Russia Today Documentary, detailed how young Cambodian girls were sold for sex to feed their impoverished families. It has gone viral since October 22 and caused heated debate among social media users.
Colonel Keo Thea, chief of the Phnom Penh anti-trafficking police, said that during the questioning, Kav Malay and her daughter Kheing Sreymich confessed they were paid to act in the film.
“Both the mother and her daughter confessed they received $200 for acting in the film. It’s not what happened to them in their real life,” Col Thea said. “We are still questioning them. So I cannot give you further information because we need to find out who was involved in this case.”
Chou Bun Eng, chairwoman of the National Authority for Anti-Human Trafficking, said the film ruined the Kingdom’s reputation.
“We are wondering how much money they received for acting. How could they sell off their own reputation? This matter is affecting the country’s name,” Ms Bun Eng said.
“They confessed that they were just acting,” she added. “Whom did they star for? What type of benefit did they receive? And what was their purpose?”
Ms Bun Eng said the authorities will take stronger action to identify those involved with the film, noting that the video intentionally branded Cambodia as a country where virgin girls were available for purchase.
“How many young girls will suffer from this issue if the video affects Cambodia as it gives foreigners the sense that Cambodian girls are for sale,” Ms Bun Eng said.
The 27-minute film detailed destitute families in Cambodia selling off their daughters’ virginity for about $400 each, and when their girls’ virginity was lost, they were then forced into prostitution by their families.
In nightclubs and karaoke bars, adolescent girls poured drinks and offered sexual favours to four or five clients a day, the film said.
An RT Documentary channel spokesman could not be reached for comment yesterday.
In the film, Ms Sreymich, identified as a child sex worker, said that her mother forced her into prostitution.
“In the karaoke club, the patrons asked us to do more. They invited us to sit with them. They made us drink beer all evening. If we went to sleep with them, we got more. If not, we just got $10 or $20 for drinking with them,” Ms Sreymich said in the film.
Huy Vannak, president of the Union of Journalist Federations of Cambodia, said the film badly affected both the reputation of those in it and the Kingdom.
“If the girl was acting or telling the truth, both circumstances affect her life now because her true identity was revealed in the film,” Mr Vannak said. “The video also accused the country of doing sex business. This badly affected the country’s culture.”
Mr Vannak called for Cambodian journalists to avoid revealing identities of sex victims and follow a code of ethics.