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Srey Kah, a prostitute living in a slum where "Acting for Women in Distressing Situations" (AFESIP) conducts outreach and provides services, practices condom application during an AFESIP talk in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Srey Kah was raped at 16 in her home town, later she was sold by a friend and held captive as a sex worker, then arrived in Phnom Penh and turned to prostitution to survive; she has survived beatings, gang rapes, drugs, and self mutilation. She continues as a prostitute so she can support her mother and put her younger sister through public school. Srey Kah's story is not unique. The slum's permanent structure, a decaying four story building known simply as 'The Building', was built in the 1960's as transitional housing and now hosts a shantytown where many of the city's poor live, including many prostitutes, and is believed to have the highest rate of HIV infection in the city. AFESIP hands out free condoms, instructs prostitutes on HIV prevention, and conducts outreach in case the prostitutes need medical services, choose to leave their profession, or can report on cases of sex trafficking. AFESIP offers housing, education, training, and counseling for women who are victims of sex trafficking, worked as prostitutes, or are escaping domestic violence. Founded by Somaly Mam, who herself was once a prostitute and victim of trafficking and domestic abuse, AFESIP has three facilities in Cambodia and works with other NGO's to provide long term care for the women.
- © Copyright 2007 Tim Matsui, All Rights Reserved
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