Saturday, January 22, 2005

Good Saint Nick

Nick Kristof, slave trader, is back spinning tales of his own heroism in the foreign sex trade. A year ago, Kristof

purchased Srey Neth for $150 and another teenager, Srey Mom, for $203, receiving receipts from the brothel owners. As readers may remember, I then freed the girls and took them back to their villages.

No mention of whether the Times reimbursed him for his role as the Great Emanicipator.

Not having got his money's worth from the last series of columns, Kristof is back with a progress report -- complete with multimedia! (After viewing the slideshow, ask yourself whether the Times would run the photographs of young American prostitutes.) Like last year, it's still all about Kristof:

"I'm happy with Srey Neth," said the beauty school's owner, Sapor Rendall. "She studies hard."

Ms. Rendall added that there was only one problem with Srey Neth: "She doesn't want to do massage. ... I've talked to her about it many times, but she's very reluctant."

Massages are routine in beauty shops in Cambodia and are not sexual, but for Srey Neth, they scream danger. I'm delighted.

Well, as long as Kristof is happy. A desperate young woman entered into prostitution to help her destitute family, and was so traumatized by her experience that's she terrified of non-sexual massage and deeply distrustful of men and boys in general. Thank God for trauma, or else that silly little girl might become a ho once again. She just doesn't have the common sense of her Great White Savior.

So Kristof thinks women in impoverished countries shouldn't be prostitutes, but he offers no viable alternatives or solutions to the underlying causes (or at least none which don't feature him at the center of the story). I guess we should be grateful he doesn't blame the Democrats for Third World prostitution this time.

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