Cambodia: Toul Kork Brothel Tour

February 20th, 2008

This is a cursory glance at the front entrances to a variety of brothels in the Toul Kork neighborhood of Phnom Penh. Many of these are wood-shack store fronts or residences where, at night, the red lamp is turned on and the girls gather at the entrance. At some, closer to the heart of town, the pimps stand out front calling to customers while the girls lounge inside.

Doing proper night photography, what with a tripod, bracketing, waiting for the right moment, is not exactly appropriate. So I sat on the back of a moto, driven by a trusted guy, sans-helmet, with the camera ISO jacked to the max (3200), at f2.8, the shutterspeed as fast as possible (around 15/sec), and no strobe. Snap snap snap away.

It’s not my favorite way to make pictures, especially when the girls figure out what you’re doing and turn away, as it’s pretty much against the way I like to build relationships, understanding, and trust. But the avenues I’ve been trying have yet to come through. With time ticking, I went for the moto ride. It’s also a safety thing for the pimps aren’t necessarily the nicest of people.

Brothel raids, particularly for underage and captive prostitutes, have pushed traffickers’ brothels out into the fringes of town, to the provinces, or to the other main tourist hubs of Sihanoukville and Siem Reap. It has also driven them underground into smaller brothels, massage parlors, and karaoke bars. However, for the Khmer men and the sex tourists, bar girls and more traditional brothels still exist.

Welcome to Toul Kork at night.

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Posted in travel 4 Comments »

4 Responses to “Cambodia: Toul Kork Brothel Tour”

  1. Cambodian girl says:

    Hey, you sad you are not so good to take the pictures but you did it well in that place. How do you think about that place? I pray for the that place will be develope in future to become the good place or school or a place for worker in factory.

  2. admin says:

    Thank you for your compliments. I think it is unfortunate that women in Cambodia do not have more opportunities for education or employment. I also think it is unfortunate that so many Khmer men feel it is ok to visit brothels; they are creating a demand which disadvantaged women are fulfilling.

  3. Mr. Jones says:

    Sure it is “bad” and “wrong” but where else can you get professional head from 3 16 year old girls at one time? for less than 20$? tell me where, really tell me and I will leave Cambodia today to go there.
    Honestly, you must realize that “stopping” prostitution in any country is impossible. yes the girls have it bad, true but so do many starving families in Africa and even America, so what?
    Anyway the legal age for sex in Cambodia is 16, so do your morals rest on your flag or there flag?OR heavens forbid you form your own morals… not YOU exactly but the NGO Hippocrates I see every night in the red light district “playing” with the girls, not “helping” but paying for sex.
    Oh good photo work by the way, i like the blurred vision, actually thats how most drunken men see it, so it is very realistic. thanks

  4. Mr.Smith says:

    I agree Mr.Jones. Prostitution will never go away.
    Is Toul Kork still open? What is the best time to go and is it safe?


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