Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Document Type



Arts and Sciences



First Advisor

Dr. Susan Roberts


This project focuses on nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in Cambodia that deal, either directly or indirectly, with sex work and sex workers. The NGOs outlined in this study have goals ranging from preventing Cambodian women from entering the commercial sex industry to empowering Cambodian sex workers through the formation of sex worker unions. Through the textual analysis of documents and web materials disseminated by these NGOs and from interviews with representatives from the NGOs, I seek to analyze how underlying assumptions about development and about the commercial sex industry shape the ways in which the personnel leading these NGOs think and act. Examining seven Phnom Penh-based organizations, I seek to answer the following research questions:

  • What are the self-stated aims of NGOs in Cambodia that either directly or indirectly deal with the commercial sex industry in the country?
  • What assumptions about development are embedded in the various programs being carried out by these NGOs?
  • What assumptions about the nature of sex work are embedded in the various programs being carried out by NGOs working in Cambodia?
  • What effect does the work of these organizations have on the lived realities of sex workers in Cambodia?