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Real tattoo representing in encoded form four family names of the prostitute - Thai, Cambodian, Vietnamese and Chinese. The tattoo were made without permission of the woman.

Specific aspects of prostitution in Cambodia

A basis and the rules of prostitution in Cambodia - as a profession, as a social phenomenon and as a popular, fashionable nowadays sin – does not have a lot of differences from the usual nightlife in most of South-East Asia resorts. A traveler who was in Thailand before, at first glance does not find a significant difference between the nightlife in Pattaya, the world capital of sexual immorality, and the three major touristic cities in Cambodia. However, on closer inspection, biased study of this phenomenon, some special Khmer features is getting to be shown very clear.

The question is - how would you describe the Khmer women, not just a prostitutes, dating the traveler in the beginning of the evening, and Khmer ladies at all? There is a reason to write a novel, or try to reduce everything to one word only. I had found a definition for it – Khmer women are not easy!

First of all, with your first acquaintance with a template go-go bar somewhere in the middle of Phnom Penh, be prepared for the fact that you can easily be refused. Khmer women are very willful, stubborn, and often can be a bitch. If suddenly you have something not pleasant for the girl nearly the bar, it is the cause for she to deny you without any hesitation or doubt, sometimes referring to some suggested reason. As far as I can judge, Khmer prostitutes allow themselves to decide independently, which customer to go to bed tonight with. It is clearly shows the influence of the ancient matriarchal customs of Khmer society, so rare in the modern world. However, you can hardly stay in Cambodia without a woman at night. Be prepared to indulge their little whims. If you suddenly will do something wrong or make angry the Khmer lady, maybe she will even lie with you, but to be able to do this someway that you will be disgusted to even think of the night spent. Do not quarrel with the Khmer prostitutes, they are very horrible when they are angry and can inflate the real scandal of a trifle. Also, remember that the Khmer prostitutes hate drunks and drug addicts customers. On the contrary, if you're gallant with a prostitute, you can look for a really good and quality night of love. Khmer women are able to retaliate, but they know how to thank too.

For the most of the Khmer women the prostitution is not a permanent occupation of all of their youth years. Usually Khmer women going to be a prostitute not only to make some money, but often to look for a foreigner to build the family with. Only a small percentage of Khmer prostitutes continue to do this job for more than six months. Special demand and traditionally good relationships with Khmer has the French bourgeoisie. Have a look at the French diaspora in Cambodia - most of them completely happy to live together with their new Khmer wives, and they regularly giving a birth to their children, washing shirts, learning how to say "bonjour" and running to the market to buy food for the whole family. I think that Cambodia is one of the few places on earth, where the prostitution is not an absolutely shameful occupation, but rather an alternative way to find a rich and clever man, barang if it is possible.


Prostitution in Cambodia is mainly engaged from divorced young women from the village, from 22 to 28 years old, usually with one or two children. The reason for a divorce from her lawful husband-Khmer is always the same - the husband was lazy and did not work, losing money at cards or casino, and finally got himself a mistress. Remember that the Khmer women are extremely jealous. Sometimes they comes to fight with other prostitutes at the bar for the client, especially if the fighting opponent is Vietnamese!

A couple of questions always arising in the first place in the connoisseur of prostitution – what is the price and where to find them? Let's talk about the price first.

Pricing policy of Khmer prostitutes is quite clear. I was explained that in details by a professional massage therapist, working at one of the Phnom Penh hotels. Prices are basically determined by the nationality of the customer. Minimal, basic service cost - twenty dollars for a date. Seems to me it is started to be an unofficial “Twenty” standard for the most of “third world” countries. There is a lot of countries, and Cambodia is not an exception, where it is possible to negotiate with the girl and try to go with her for less money, but it is considered as a mauvais ton, and to get paid less than twenty mean now to lose the face and respect. Usually, twenty dollars price is only for Khmer people and the foreigners, long time living in Cambodia. Fee for travelers is a little bit different. For the barangs  - the white tourists - 30 dollars to pay, the Chinese and Japanese - are even more expensive - up to $50, well, finally, the highest fee is established for black skin tourists - a hundred dollars and not a cent less. This is due to the fact that for some reason Negros causes Khmer woman absolutely sincere, undisguised disgust. To go with a black man for less than a hundred dollars and all the girlfriends will be laughing! Incidentally, Negros is blaming Khmer prostitutes for racist behavior.

That is absolutely strange, but the beauty of a prostitute in Cambodia is not a determining factor in price. Typically, a small street bars while away the evening five or six prostitutes, they are all friends, all make each other little nasty, gossiping, sharing clothes between them and always joke on between, but the prices are always set equal to the entire circle. If some bright-eyed beauty with the appearance of a model asks for $30, then her ugly fat girlfriend, for being jealousy only will require the same price. The spirit of competition among the Khmer woman is very strong.

Of course, you can always discuss the price. But here it all depends on your personal charm and the degree of your skills in Khmer language.

As for pimping, just as a method of organizing prostitution in Cambodia, but as well as in neighboring Thailand, this phenomenon is not widely spread.  There are no pimps in Phnom Penh neither in Sihanoukville. The commercial relations between girls have embarked on this road of sin and the owners of nightclubs reduced to an elementary way: a girl craving for a quick and not too tiring earnings goes into the first bar, met with the rivals out there, speak with them about the place, the owners and other conditions, and if a new girl happy about everything, she agrees with the bar owner, usually it is 30 years old experienced prostitute, for the evening job. Terms are simple and always beneficial: for each client drink the prostitute gets the fee and, in general, a symbolic fee in the form of "bar fine" is to pay for a bar when the prostitute going out with the client. In this case bar owners does not care about the safety and following adventures of the girl.

Interestingly, the bar owners does not mind and do not take offense if a girl, work for a couple of weeks in the bar, suddenly goes to work at a nearby institution. Prostitutes brighten their lives this way. Tired of boring gatherings in a one bar - went to the other. There are new girlfriends and a whole heap of new gossip, and just a variety of life. Many and wander from bar to bar.

Siem Reap is an exception - for unknown reasons, in this Cambodian town only, love-for-sale business is controlled by local pimp clans who oversee all the Khmer and Vietnamese prostitutes. Unfortunately, you cannot find a prostitute without some male will ask you to pay the full amount of money for girl services. As a rule, in Siem Reap, you have to pay 100% of the price an advance in the pocket of pimps.

Now I'd like to say a couple of words about places and ways to choose a prostitute in Cambodia.

By my opinion only and by my purely personal taste, the best city to find Khmer girlfriend for a night - the capital, Phnom Penh city. In the evenings, starting about 9 p.m. in Phnom Penh, the doors of many small bars wide open, lighted with purple and pink fluorescent flashlights - a modern analogue of the traditional red made of paper lanterns for centuries was an unofficial symbol of prostitution in Southeast Asia. Most bars are located next to a favorite spot for evening walks of foreign tourists, near the Mekong waterfront or on adjacent streets. The vast majority of bars operate as "a drink for you" + "drink for a girl" + "bar commission" = "to take the girl". When visiting the bar, you have to order something for yourself, some drink for selected lady (a special list of "lady drink" is always the most expensive part of a bar menu, it usually costs $3, regardless of the fact that she currently has wanted to drink), and to make an agreement with selected girl about payment for her services and pay a "bar fine" – bar fee, usually $5 after eleven o'clock, and $10 – up to 23 p.m.. Bar fine is included in your bill, along with drinks. How much you should be paid to the girl – discuss the price with her and after you can pick her up at least for an hour, at least for the night, even for the hole life - the owners of the bar will not care about it anymore.

As I mentioned above, the majority of prostitutes in Cambodia, as throughout Southeast Asia perhaps, are usually engaged in their profession not really long, for a few months only. As a rule, due to temporary financial difficulties. Sometimes because of a quarrel with her fellow. Or, to make a company to her friend (believe me, it happens!). Ironically, many pleasant and nice girls, just come into this business, can get married soon and with a profit. The new husband is usually some elderly Europeans. Often in the night bar, you can see a quite decent mammy girls vas never even thinking about the panel, but once curiosity has won out and ... she is sitting on a sticky bar table now, the mother of four children, slams her eyes, silly smiling at you, willing to take on men treat - a three dollar "lady drink", readily responds to the question - How much per night? - "Up to you!" - And this is definitely the best answer. If you came across just such a fairy, then you can spend very interesting night with romantic adventures. And maybe you are lucky, and this story will start the love of the whole your life! As ones that had happened to me.

Be prepared for the fact that in Asian bars you can meet prostitutes from unusual families. Once I spent a happy, serene vacation with a girl I picked up in Pattaya. We flew together on the island of Koh Samui for one week, and at the end of our trip my companion had confessed to me that she came from a Bangkok family of assassins. Her father was engaged in this business all his life. He fought in Cambodia, was in jail at Phnom Penh. I do remember how she had described her father - on his body is a lot of gunshot and stab wounds, but under the layer of his tattoos all of this stuff is hard to be visible. By the family tradition, elder brother of my friend also went same way and has supposedly succeeded. My beauty was not needed money, she just got tired of sitting at home among his goons and she went for a little fun in sinful Pattaya to pick up any handsome farang to spend a romantic vacation with him. The stories like this are quite possible.

My friend, the painter Vladimir Stelmashchuk told me even more bizarre story. One day in Phnom Penh, in a prostitute bar he chose the girl who was... a police officer! The most amazing thing that she was not seconded at this bar for the implementation of some secret police mission, but simply chose as her personal conduct, the free time after work, what she was honestly said  to Volodya. However, the rende-vous of love was spoiled. All the night she was speaking by phone with her fellow cops, the thugs, than she had to solve some serious "issues" right from the bed of my friend, and participate in nightly police job.

My council – before picking up a prostitute, get yourself ready for fun surprises!

by Ciro