A 2011 study completed by End Child Prostitution, Abuse and Trafficking in Cambodia (ECPAT) found that 92% of sex trafficking victims were either children or young people (up to age 25), with 75% of them under the age of 17. Just under half of the victims were recruited by someone the victim knew very well (neighbor, employer, friend or family member).
ECPAT's findings over the years indicate a disturbing trend in Cambodia: the age of sex trafficking victims is progressively decreasing (in 2007, child victims were only 42% of the total victims). Even more disturbing,their 2011 study included for the first time a victim in the age category 0-6 years.1
One factor in the decreasing age of victims is the high demand for virgins; in Camodia it is believed that having sex with a virgin has a purifying effect on males; some men, infected with HIV/AIDS, believe that having sex with a virgin will cure their disease.2
1. ECPAT Cambodia, Database Report on Rape, Sexual Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation in Cambodia.
2. Isabelle Chan, Addressing Local Demand for Commercial Sex with Children in Cambodia, March 2010