Environmental Fever

Dengue Fever, a California-based rock band fronted by a Cambodian-American singer that plays songs based on Cambodian pop styles, has partnered with the environmental group Wildlife Alliance to help conserve the country’s plant and animal species.

“We want to preserve Cambodia’s rich cultural heritage, just like the Wildlife Alliance is working to protect Cambodia wildlife species and forests,” guitarist Zac Holtzman told reporters at a concert in Virginia to promote a new documentary about the band.

The partnership will involve charity concerts and remix albums, as well as online commercials about Cambodian conservation activities in line with celebration of World Earth Day.

In other Cambodian news, the MTV EXIT Foundation, which addresses human trafficking, has come under fire for how it went about raising awareness about the issue.
Last year, the foundation sponsored broadcasts and staged concerts to tell young people about the risks of human trafficking, which is a big problem in Southeast Asia.
However, some rights groups in Cambodia are saying that MTV EXIT’s campaign is inadvertently supporting a recent law that criminalizes prostitution and allows police to brutalize sex workers freely.

The law classified all sex workers as “victims of trafficking” and outlawed selling one’s own sexual services.

Previously, only pimping and procurement could result in prosecution.

After the law was passed, police carried out raids on brothels and arrested street prostitutes with impunity. Support groups said many of those arrested were robbed and raped while in custody.

Basically, the new law has driven prostitution deeper underground and made sex workers more vulnerable to trafficking.

A representative for the Women’s Network for Unity, a Phnom Penh collective of sex workers, said that the MTV EXIT campaign “only highlights the issue of sex slavery” without discussing the larger story of why women work in the sex industry in the first place.