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These Powerful Sex Trafficking Photos Will Haunt You

These Powerful Sex Trafficking Photos Will Haunt You

Can you imagine a life where your own mother willingly sends you to the streets to be a sex worker, where your virginity is sold to the highest bidder and where you are forced to sleep with 10 men each night? Sadly, this nightmare is reality for many girls in the sex trade of Southeast Asia. Human trafficking is a serious and widespread problem, and victims are offered few escape routes from the brutal life.

These photos offer a small glimpse at the lives of sex workers in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, where the sex trade is a growing industry.

A slum building in downtown Phnom Penh, Cambodia, where drugs and prostitution are rampant. Human trafficking survivor Srey Neth was sold here, by her mother, at age 14 to a pimp who later sold Neth’s virginity for $300. (Tim Matsui)


Srey Neth and Lia move into the STAR House, a secondary transition home designed to help victims of sex trafficking to learn the skills to reintegrate into society without falling back to sex work. The teenagers are residents of Transitions Global and have experienced horrific physical and mental abuse largely at the hands of their fellow Cambodians. (Tim Matsui)


A young woman in a Phnom Penh slum. Investigators later found her mother was pimping the drug-addicted girl nightly to upwards of 10 Cambodian men. (Tim Matsui)


Click here for more compelling photos.

These photos were taken by Tim Matsui and submitted to the Alexia Foundation, a group dedicated to bringing real change through photography.


Related Stories:

Child Trafficking Fears for Myanmar

A Family’s Journey into Degrading Work

15-Year-Old Girls Arrested for Running Prostitution Ring


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9:29AM PDT on May 10, 2013


9:17AM PST on Mar 5, 2013

The first thing we should do, is stop useing the word "sleep". These children are not sleeping, they are being raped.

3:50PM PST on Feb 24, 2013

Isn't there something that can done?

5:15PM PST on Feb 21, 2013

This is a true shame and a tragedy. Stop human raping!!!!

5:06AM PST on Feb 20, 2013

This story breaks my heart that some of the girls own mothers would do this to them. Shame!

1:03PM PST on Feb 17, 2013

Indeed a tragedy...

7:52AM PST on Feb 15, 2013

Where I read things like that, I am reminded of a song by Bruce Cockburn called "If I Had a Rocket Launcher" ( ).

Part of the lyrics say:

How many kids they've murdered only God can say
If I had a rocket launcher...I'd make somebody pay.

And when I talk with the survivors of things too sickening to relate
If I had a rocket launcher...I would retaliate

Every time I think about it water rises to my eyes.
Situation desperate echoes of the victims cry
If I had a rocket launcher...some sonofabitch would die

Although the song was made about another crisis, in my mind it still fits this situation!

6:27AM PST on Feb 15, 2013

This is very disturbing. How can this still be happening?>

6:21AM PST on Feb 15, 2013

Thank you Care2 Causes Editors, for Sharing this!

5:53PM PST on Feb 14, 2013

oh my!- this is horrible.....

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