SMART Girl is a new program created by FHI and financially supported by USAIDS to focus on entertainment workers to be pretty and smart to protect themselves from HIV/AIDS. At least 500 participants including entertainment workers, ambassador, government staffs, NGO staffs and peer educators attended the launching program in January 30, 2009 at Cambodiana Hotel, Cambodia.
To promote the women rights and empower entertainment workers to access strategic information, health care service and behaviors change, we must develop new tools for them to reduce the HIV transmission and impact mitigation among them especially Human Trafficking and Sexually Exploitation Law guideline for national police to implement. “In order to help women address their high-risk sexual behavior and curb the spread of HIV/AIDS, the program must move to entertainment venue like Karaoke bars and message parlors” Ms. Carol Rodley, US ambassador said.
According to Phnom Penh Post Daily issued on February 02, 2009, the 100% CUP, once touted as a regional success story, was abandoned following passage of the new anti-trafficking legislation, which made soliciting sex illegal for the first time, experts say.
The Anti-trafficking and Human Exploitation Law makes the 100% condom use principle (100% CUP) impossible and sex worker illegal job. “100% CUP should be updated or we should find the way to ensure the successful implementation.”, HE Dr. Mean Chivorn, Chairman of NCHADS said during the SMARTGirl launching. With illegal job of entertainment work H.E. Chour Bun Eng, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Interior said “We don’t want to hear the word “Sex Workers”, but we want to hear the word “staff who is working at the entertainment place”. It is a legal job for them”.
Cambodia is one of the few success stories in the global fighting against HIV/AIDS. Since 1994, The USA has provided nearly US$ 140 millions bilaterally for HIV program and committed to continue to work with Cambodia to ensure that the Cambodian people are safe from HIV/AIDS.