Prostitution laws in Cambodia

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Prostitution (selling oneself or buying sex) is legal in Cambodia; however, “third party procurement” (acting as a pimp or brothel owner) is illegal. Therefore, prostitution is very popular in karaoke bars and beer gardens, where men arrive, order drinks, and ask the manager to take one of the waitresses “on a date,” usually off-site. This makes it more difficult for NGOs/other organizations trying to shut down trafficking establishments to prove that third party procurement has happened.1

Purchasing sex from someone younger than 18 is illegal, yet many Cambodians are unaware this is even a law because it is rarely enforced.2


1. Alison L. Boden, "Human Trafficking in Cambodia," August 2012

2. Isabelle Chan, Addressing Local Demand for Commercial Sex with Children in Cambodia, March 2010