Poor Countries Complain of Porn Influx

Matt O'Conner
PHNOM PENH, Cambodia — The Cambodian prime minister told a group of students Tuesday that rich countries should be called to task for flooding poor countries with unwanted pornography.

“Which countries produce pornographic films?” Hun Sen asked. “Not poor countries. They [porn exporters] are rich countries. And then the poor countries are the ones that suffer from it.”

Sen’s remarks come in the wake of a growing outcry in the Cambodian media over the popularity of cellphone porn among the nation’s teens. Particularly trendy are Photoshopped images of celebrities.

The Cambodian government earlier this year ordered newsstands to stop selling adult magazines, claiming they posed a danger to society because they could potentially contribute to human trafficking and the spread of HIV.

The country’s minister of women’s affairs also has asked legislators to fashion laws to punish domestic Internet service providers who fail to put age-verification safeguards in place.

"The increase in the distribution of the pornographic pictures to youth has severely affected the value, honor and dignity of Cambodian women and family, social, cultural and Khmer traditional values," Ung Kantha Phavy said.

Phavy also urged the government to close shops that sell adult videos and ban the importation of adult DVDs and CDs.

But he said there is only so much countries like his can do because the primary responsibility lies with Western nations like the United States, Spain, the Netherlands and Japan, which export billions of dollars worth of hardcore adult material every year via DVD, VHS and the Internet.

“If we want to eliminate pornographic images, first the countries that make the films must stop producing the pornographic movies,” Sen said.

Other poor countries such as India, Malaysia and Korea have issued similar complains about the sudden influx of adult materials from Western nations, mostly due to the Internet.

While pornography is not illegal in India, there are strict laws regarding its distribution, and the government has been cracking down hard on violators. Hundreds of teens have been busted for viewing porn on their cellphones or at Internet cafes, and police recently publicly disgraced patrons of a porn theater.