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Last Saturday, we listened to THE MESSENGER BAND performing live at Meta House, in Phnom Penh. Initiated and formed by the Cambodian grassroots advocacy group Womyn's Agenda for Change (WAC), The Messenger Band is a Cambodian girls band with a social mission. These former garment factory workers sing about the impact of globalization, sex work and child labour. They advocate for change by singing songs about the condition of exploited and vulnerable people. I find it so positive to see young women taking up such initiatives. Keep it up!

Their video clips can be viewed here, and theirs songs listened to here.

They sang four songs, and I recorded one entitled "SEX WORK IS WORK". You must be wondering why...

All prostitutes in Cambodia are forced into sex work, be it by human traffickers, by the lack of economic opportunities, or by their families. They have no choice. Once they have entered sex work, they have very little hope of escaping their condition, either because they are prisoners and slaves, or because they are so rejected by society that they cannot aspire to another condition. NO men would want to marry them. And as unmarried women are considered of a lower social status, many prostitutes do not dare engaging in other activites. In addition to being reduced to selling their bodies, they have to face stigmatisation and violence from the wider society. Since the new law against human trafficking was passed in 2005, prostitution in Cambodia is prohibited. So the first to be arrested and convicted for crime are the prostitutes themselves, and not the procurers and traffickers, who are not in the frontline.

(désolée, on y voit rien...mais l'important c'est d'ouvrir les oreilles !)

Even though we are bar girls, we wish to live like other people
We want to have freedom and rights in society
We do not want to be looked down upon and called bad girls
What has we done wrong?
What we do everyday is to support our families.

Even though we are sex workers, what is wrong with that?
We just sell our bodies
We do not steal or rob anyone,
No law says that we are wrong
Sex work face suffering everyday
We earn one day for one day's survival
Why police arrests us?

Sometimes we meet cruel gangster who treat us badly...
If you were us, what would you think? Stop insulting us!
No one wants to choose this way of life.
We have no choice (twice)
We demand justice because we all human beings, even though we are different nationalities, we need life that is valued.
We want to tell you that "Sex Work Is Work"

Tag(s) : #Speak out!

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