I have spent two of the last three weeks in Siem Reap, Cambodia. It is there we are opening a new Rahab's House, but more about that in future blogs. What I want to write about today is the experiences I had over those two weeks, and what they seem to revealed about those who benefit from the sexual exploitation of children. Both of these experiences took place in five-star hotels along the main street in Siem Reap.
The first involves 2 Western men somewhere between the ages of 45 and 55. Every morning for five days these men would bring to the breakfast buffet 2 teenage Cambodian girls they had purchased to use as sex toys while they vacationed in Cambodia. Each day as they arrived the men would be laughing and joking, all smiles. However, the girls worked very hard not to make eye contact with anyone in the restaurant, but when that eye contact was made their eyes revealed deep shame. That shame would grow every time the men tried to hug and kiss the girls. But the men seemed to feel no shame at all, and absolutely no concern for the shame of the girls. I wondered what are they thinking?
The second incident occurred in the lobby of the other five-star hotel. I was standing there talking with friends when a Western man in his 60’s walked through with a teenage Cambodian girl. Holding onto the girl’s arm he took her to the elevator and up to his room. Certain that a hotel as nice as this would not put up with such nonsense I went to the front desk and explained what had happened. To my surprise the front desk clerk said, “It’s okay sir. The lady paid her $20.” I relied, “What do you mean?” She answered, “Our our hotel has a very strict policy about the ladies. If the gentleman wants to bring a lady to his room the lady must pay $20. You see it is okay sir because the lady paid $20.”
Is it that simple? I'm beginning to believe it is. Those who benefit from the sexual exploitation of children simply think it’s okay. And the only thing that will change that thinking is a transformed heart…a heart that allows one to see others through the eyes of Christ.
Note: Efforts to confront the men while not in the presence of the girls were unsuccessful. But we’ve not given up. To the contrary we are just getting started.