This is a side of life the Burmese military junta might prefer you did not see: girls who appear to be 13 and 14 years old paraded in front of customers at a nightclub where a beauty contest thinly veils child prostitution. Tottering in stiletto heels and miniskirts, young teenage girls criss-crossed the dance-floor as part of a nightly "modelling" show at the Asia Entertainment City nightclub on a recent evening in Rangoon. Some girls stared at the floor while others tugged self-consciously on short hemlines, stretching the flimsy material a few centimetres longer as they catwalked awkwardly to the accompaniment of blasting hip-hop music. Watching these young entertainers of the "Cherry-Sexy Girls" model groups were a few male customers, and a far larger crowd of Burmese sex workers, mostly in their late teens and early 20s, who sat at low tables in the darkness of the club. Escorting several girls to a nearby table of young men, a waiter said the show was not so much modelling as marketing. Prostitution, particularly involving children, is a serious crime in military-ruled Burma, but girls taken from the club would have no problem with the authorities, the waiter assured the company, but did not explain why not.
Discounted Youth Rate
Young girls in bathing scenes
The massage parlor is already swallowing clients through its dark doorway; cheap perfume hangs in the air. The Home of Body Building exudes a sour sweat from the hall where older men are eyeing prancing young boys. But in a nearby shelter for former prostitutes the scene is demure, as girls settle down for group therapy. This day, a visitor is taking Polaroid pictures and passing them around. The pictures make the girls look like small, spindly birds, rather than sex objects. It is hard to imagine that not long ago these children, aged 11 to 14, worked as prostitutes, used by men three and four times their age.
Meet Thai Singles
There's something about the word paedophile that elicits a strongly negative response in people. Talk of fraudsters, thieves, hell, even the word terrorist does not elicit such a strong reaction. Last week Steve Prowler was extradited to the US to face charges relating to having sex with kids abroad after serving a year in a Thai jail. He was not the first foreigner to be convicted of such charges in Thailand, and he won't be the last. Right now there are Western men engaging in sexual activities with underage girls and boys.
By Nopporn Wong-Anan. Children at the government boys' home in Rayong province, east of Bangkok, November 23, Once a small fishing village until American servicemen started "relaxing" there early in the Vietnam War, Pattaya is now a "pedophile paradise", where anything goes. TAT says on its Web site www.