Increasing Number of Cambodian ‘Beer Girls’ Selling Sex; As Many As One-Fifth Are HIV-Positive
An increasing number of Cambodian "beer girls," who sell international beers, wines and liquors at outdoor eateries and in bars, are also selling sex, and Cambodian government surveys indicate that as many as one-fifth of them are HIV-positive, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Other surveys show that beer girls are less likely than brothel workers to use condoms. AIDS advocates, who are focusing on beer girls' role in the AIDS epidemic, are urging major beer and liquor companies to take responsibility for the women's working conditions. However, the companies say that the women are employed by local distributors, which are responsible for making rules for the women. The beer girls, whose base salaries are typically $20 to $80 per month, depend "heavily" on commissions, which are about $2 to $3 per case of beer. If the women refuse a client's offer of sex for money, they may lose a beer sale. "The girls have to do something to convince the client to buy," Nith Sopha, a health officer with Family Health International, said, adding, "The companies are acting with one eye open and the other eye closed." Kim Green, AIDS program officer at Care International in Cambodia, said, "We have to make the multinationals realize that they are de facto prostituting young women to sell their beer" (Sine, San Francisco Chronicle, 1/15).This is part of the Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.