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K11 - Confessions of a Sex Tourist (documentary)

This self-financed and -produced documentary about a Swiss sex tourist in Cambodia is one of the rare glimpses into the world of (child) prostitution from the perspective of the perpetrator.

The film's title refers to the former notorious red light district Svay Pak, 11 kilometers north of Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Svay Pak gained worldwide fame primarily as the number one destination for foreign men with a predilection for young girls.

Svay Pak was officially shut down in 2005, after massive international pressure. However, selling young women and girls did not stop there; the transactions were simply relocated to backyards.

K11 – Confessions of a Sex Tourist: Austria, 2009, 30min, German with English Subtitles (Directors Cut: 38min)

K 11 - Confessions of a Sex Tourist-Cover

K 11 - Confessions of a Sex Tourist - The movie

At this point thanks to Manuela Fink, Alex Kals, Reinhard Klingenberg, Felix Lang, Christian Mausser, Maria Stumpfl and the employees of CWCC for their help.


Synopsis:

A business man in his forties openly talks about his activities as a Sex Tourist, unaware of the hidden camera. About his tricks to lure young girls into his hotel, his perverse slip-offs, while he ignores international laws that protect young Sex Workers.

His story gives a rare insight into a hidden mass of western men, traveling around the globe to live their perverted dreams. Without any fear of prosecution and without losing a thought on these dozens of women they have violated.

K 11 - Confessions of a Sex Tourist (K 11 - stands for a known mecca of prostitution in Cambodia) shows the perpetrator's side of Sex Tourism.


Festival participation: perspektive - the Nuremberger Human Rights Film Festival/Germany, Documenta Madrid/Spain, document 8 - International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival/ Scotland, Vienna International Shorts/Vienna (special mention by the jury), Rokumentii Rock Filmfestival/Finland, SHOOT-Me Filmfestival/The Netherlands, Bunker Filmfestival/The Netherlands, shortynale/Austria (special prize of the jury), JIHLAVA IDFF/Czech Republic, Guangzhou International Documentary Film Festival/China, this human world/Vienna


Background information: CAMBODIA

Violence against women is widespread in Cambodia. Tentative estimates suggest that about 40% of women in this country face  violence. Women and girls are often victims of domestic violence, forced marriages, acid attacks, trafficking, forced prostitution and rape. Recently, so-called "gang rapes" (known as "bauk" - literally "plus" in Khmer) have increasingly been reported. Bauk is usually carried out when two young men take a woman, usually a sex worker in a guest house, and meet between four and 10 of their friends, often young people, with the sole purpose of raping her. Often the perpetrators are drugged, with reported widespread use of methamphetamine (street names include Meth, Glass, Ice, Crystal, Yaba, Yama, etc.).

A survey conducted by a local human rights NGO found that 40% of women and girls voluntarily work as sex workers, while 60% have been forced into prostitution. The NGO also estimates that there are up to 90,000 sex workers in the country. According to UNICEF-Cambodia, one-third of all sex workers in Cambodia are under 18 years old. They come from poor rural areas and urban slums and are usually 12 to 16 years old. Nearly all male sex workers are street children that work self-organized. Their customers come from Cambodia, its neighboring countries, as well as from Europe and the United States of America.

Human trafficking means the abduction of humans (in particular, women and children) from their communities/provinces into exploitative forms of labor - usually prostitution by coercion or fraud. Often, women are promised a job as a waitress, domestic worker or garment worker, but instead, they are sold into bonded labor and are forced to do any kind of work to pay their debts, which often includes extremely high interest rates. In other cases, women are sold directly by a family member to a trafficker or brothel owner. Once a woman has become a sex worker, the social stigma of sex work makes it very difficult for them to reintegrate into society.

Human trafficking does not only take place within the country, but extends this to other countries. Cambodia is, in addition to the origin country, a transit and destination country for the cross-border sex trade of women and children. One-third of the underage sex workers in Cambodia come from Vietnam and China. Very young Cambodian girls are often traded to Thailand. Other destinations include Hong Kong, Malaysia, Japan, the USA, Europe and South Africa. Often, family members and friends are involved in the trafficking.

Today, the majority of Cambodian women in rural areas have no access to modern amenities, such as medical care, education and jobs. The lack of education and associated consequences, such as low job prospectives, low self-esteem and poverty, make women especially vulnerable to sexual exploitation.

Cambodia's high rates of poverty, corruption and child trafficking are also the basis for intensive child sex tourism. In Thailand and the Philippines, stronger laws that protect children are tightly controlled; Cambodia is regarded as a latecomer, and simultaneously as a magnet for child abusers from around the world.

It is important for us to mention that despite the terrible fate of many girls there is hope for improvement. With the help of international and national organizations, more and more women and girls are rescued from the hands of traffickers and brothel owners and find shelter and job training in women's refuges. With our documentary "K 11 - Confessions of a Sex Tourist," we were able to make a small contribution to this improvement. Five teenage girls have been rescued because of our recordings from Svay Pak. We are quite proud of this fact.


Background information: Svay Pak
Svay Pak is an ethnic Vietnamese village located in the Russey Keo District of Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Svay Pak is also called K11, an allusion to its 11-kilometer distance to Phnom Penh.

ledonja-svay pak1

Information about Svay Pak is sparse. In 1995, Svay Pak was almost completely destroyed by a fire. But like a phoenix rising from the ashes, K11 was rebuilt. Interestingly, most messages relate to Svay Pak "after." By "after," I mean after 2005. In that year, Svay Pak was officially declared closed.

By 2005, Svay Pak had a population of about 5,000 or 6,000 inhabitants. It is estimated that more than 500 prostitutes lived and worked there. The village essentially consisted of a wide street with houses built close together.

For decades, Svay Pak was a mecca of international child sex tourism. Men from all over the world met in K11 to pursue their love of sex with children. Most girls in Svay Pak were between 15 and 20 years old. Those who wanted a younger one usually had to wait only briefly and young girls were taken out of the back room. Vietnamese girls, some not even 3 years old, were sold here, abused and raped. Due to the strong demand, the trafficking of children had flourished, too. Every week, new girls were brought to Svay Pak to offer "boom-boom" (sexual intercourse) and "yum-yum" (oral sex). For $20 to $30, a child molester could abuse a child for one hour in a cramped and humid room in one of the many concrete buildings. For a virgin, men had to pay more. About $500 was required for a virgin, depending on the customer's negotiation skills and demands. Because of the low prices and lax controls by the authorities, the number of customers was enormous. Involvement from high-ranking military officials and bribes ensured that brothel owners and customers were rarely arrested. Tips from officials about an impending raid were not unusual.

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Personal impressions of Puja Khoschsorur
2005. My first visit to Svay Pak. With colleagues of a local non-governmental organization, I'm traveling by car to Svay Pak. Although the car is neutral on the outside, meaning there are no stickers or other evidence of an organization, we attract attention. No one wants to talk to us. 2005 is not a good year for the residents of this village, as many police officers and NGO's have been here recently. Because of the great international pressure, the authorities are about to close this paradise for child molesters once and for all. I hear that in Svay Pak even Cambodians -- not just foreigners -- have abused children. On the walls of houses -- or at least what is left of them -- I see children's drawings and Vietnamese writing.

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2007. My second visit to Svay Pak. The children brothels are closed, or, at least it appears so. Not much is left of the former infamous "children's village" of Svay Pak. It's a ghost town. Where there was once brisk business in the cafes -- sex with children apparently makes people hungry -- today I received a gaping void and totally exaggerated prices. For my can of Coca Cola, I paid just under $5. Five dollars - the price that a man pays for a "short-time" session with a girl. In the middle of the road, two NGOs set up their offices and are showing a presence in K11. They deter potential customers, although their other job is to protect the remaining children. I start up a conversation with the cafe owner, an elderly lady who came decades ago from Vietnam to Cambodia. She tells me how great business used to be here. Everyday, buses arrived several times (!) from Phnom Penh full of foreign currency. Here, you had the selection of girls of all ages. Underage girls were especially popular. After their sexual activities, customers could re-energize themselves in one of the many cafes and talk about their experiences. Yes, those were the days, they tell me almost wistfully. I'd like to know if the store owners had a bad conscience or felt guilty about having made their sales to child molesters. It is disturbing, but business is business and the woman has to feed her family.

ledonja-svay pak4a

During the 3 hours I spent there, I saw no foreign tourists. At least I did not notice one. I want to know whether there are tourists coming to Svay Pak. Faint-heartedly, the woman says that some are coming here and there, but most are probably journalists and/or police officers. Why should tourists still come? Svay Pak is indeed closed. It says so on the Internet, too. Upon leaving, the old lady quietly added that it is also not good to come here so early in the afternoon. In the evening, the situation is quite different, she says. So I decided to come back to Svay Pak a few days later after dark. The driver is briefly frightened when I tell him the destination of the journey. He knows better places, as Svay Pak is closed. Nevertheless, we go to K11. Again, nothing.

ledonja-svay pak3a

2008. A year has passed and I am back in Cambodia. Again, I am on my way to Svay Pak, this time with success. With the help of an insider, we get accurate information and instructions. Together with a colleague, I drive to Svay Pak, loaded with a hidden camera. Once there, we make a find. We follow a Vietnamese pimp, a young man of about 20 years, through a backyard maze until we finally arrive at a small group of young girls. The girls, all under 6 or 7 years old, are presented to us and we are asked to choose one or two of them. There is almost no light, but the walls have posters of the past and it is a dump. The carefree nature of the girls and the aggressive nature of the pimp shine out in the darkness. The girls are wearing their pajamas and do not have any terrifying impressions or fears. It seems to me that this was their daily operation. After viewing the footage and handing it over to a local NGO, the girls can be rescued, freed and placed into shelters.

ledonja-svay pak5

2010. I'm in Cambodia again and drawn back to Svay Pak. Svay Pak has been officially closed for 5 years. Due to the many police checkpoints and constant observation, the international trade of underage girls has moved deeper into the backyards. It seems like the opportunity to get in contact with children has become more difficult. It remains to be seen if the laws protecting children will be adhered to, and in particular, strictly controlled. The enforcement of the law is, and remains, a major obstacle in efforts to eliminate child prostitution. If this is done, then Svay Pak is really closed as it is written on the Internet.