For those of you who have been following our blog you will know that the term ''new chicken'' often refers to new pedophiles who come to visit Svay Pak. We use the name ''new chicken'' when we hear that a new pedophile has arrived in the brothel district. But last night, I discovered that on the waterfront the name ''new chicken'' means something else. It is the name given to ''new girls'' who are at the riverfront waiting for the sex tourists or pedophiles. It is girls who are at the riverfront for the first time. Last night I was out for dinner around the riverfront with a Khmer sister of mind. She is much younger than I am but has worked for several years helping trafficking victims and so we took a stroll along the riverfront. She was educating me on all sorts of different ways that the ''girls'' make contact with the sex tourists or pedophiles in this area. It was very interesting as we walked, she told me that I would be viewed as the ''Mak of the New Chicken'' ie: the mother of the ''new chicken'' and she would be considered the 'new chicken''. What this all means is that the ''patrons'' would need to negotiate the price with me if they were interested in my ''daughter the new chicken.''
So as we walked along the riverfront, she began to point out how contact is made. In this culture, Cambodians typically do not make eye contact with each other. In fact, if children are being scolded by their parents they always look down towards the ground, for to look at their parents is to show disrespect. But in this trade of sex for sale, the buyer needs to make eye contact with the prospective seller ---this is the only way they will know if the ''seller'' is interested. We passed by a sex tourist with two young girls whose ages I could not tell as I actually didn't notice them initially. Nonetheless, the sex tourist obviously noticed my ''Khmer daughter" despite already sitting with two Khmer girls and he apparently gave her the eye as she looked at him, he looked at her with a smile. Later as we walked back, he was still there with the two girls so we deliberately decided to sit in the bench about 20 feet from them to see what would happen. It was fascinating how he changed his body position from facing his two dates to now facing in the direction looking at us. At that point, I decided to take a photo using a more subtle approach but unfortunately I didn't get a good picture as I was too far away.
Anyway, we continued walking as the riverfront is a place where many of the boratay(foreigners) will just sit and seek to make contact with either the street kids or young women who might be interested in spending time with them. My Khmer friend is quite bold although she did admit that she normally would not make eye contact if she was walking with her family, but given that she was with me (a boratay) she felt a bit more adventurous to make eye contact to see what would happen. We passed by 3 Khmer men and sure enough, one of them raised 3 fingers---we're not sure but I think he was implying he wanted to see if she was interested in a threesome.
On our walk about, we saw some other girls, some sitting together with their faces all made up and others sitting by themselves waiting to be propositioned. We headed back to the car and we went to visit some streets nearby where she pointed out a few girls who were also sitting on their own. However, I was told they were not actually really their by themselves as their pimps are nearby just waiting and watching to negotiate a deal with any patron who would approach their ''property.'' We continued our drive to a well known street and saw so many sex tourists with their ''girls''. My Khmer sister suggested that I should come here with a male boratay and sit and order a drink and watch the activity. Perhaps when Brian our founder is next in town, I'll recruit him to go with me. :-) It will be an interesting night out. One place we drove by, we saw two extremely young kids with a big fat boratay....very disgusting to see. For those who are prayer warriors, these would be the places to come and do a prayer walk. It is these places where the darkness is so in your face yet, seeing all of this simply fuels my passion and my desire to invest in the lives of those young women who God has entrusted to our care. Scripture reminds me constantly, that the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it (John 1:5) and so despite the ugliness of the visible reality, we live in faith, believing and trusting the One who says that there is no place so dark that His light cannot shine!