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Girl for a night for price of a noodle bowl

HORRIFIED: Girls who looked to be between five and six years old gave Ms Olsen a manicure. She had assumed that they were the daughters of rescued sex workers, until she found out that they were the sex workers.


    Mar 21, 2014

    Girl for a night for price of a noodle bowl

    A NIGHT out with a prostitute in Cambodia can cost just $3 to $4 - the average price of a bowl of noodles at a hawker centre here.

    That measly sum is just one element that is highlighted in the film 3.50, which former Nominated Member of Parliament Eunice Olsen, 36, has co-produced and acted in.

    The film focuses on human trafficking in Cambodia and how young girls are forced into the sex trade.

    A charity gala screening of the film, organised by the Singapore Committee for UN Women in partnership with W Singapore Sentosa Cove, will take place tomorrow at the high-end hotel. The ticket price is $3.50, a play on the film's title.

    Ms Olsen came up with the idea for the film following a 2006 visit to a Cambodian trauma recovery centre, where she met girls who had been rescued from trafficking.

    "These girls, who looked to be between five and six years old, were giving me a manicure, and I remember vividly that one girl's hand could just fit into my palm," said Ms Olsen in a phone interview with MyPaper.

    "I assumed that they were the daughters of rescued sex workers but when I found out that these girls were the sex workers, I was shocked and horrified. I can't even begin to imagine how humans can be so repulsive."

    In 2011, the opportunity to raise awareness about the problem and do something about it arose when her idea was pitched to 3.50's co-producer, Chan Gin Kai. They started working on the film that year and 3.50 was first shown at a private screening in October last year.

    Ms Olsen plays a documentary film-maker who investigates the case of a girl who had been sold into prostitution and seeks to rescue her.

    While doing research for the film in Cambodia, Ms Olsen learnt that the parents of the girls were often unaware that their daughters would end up in the sex trade. She explained: "A family friend, usually a woman, would offer to help get their daughter a job in the city, then take the girl to a brothel instead."

    She hopes the film will inspire viewers to do something about the problem. "Just because it doesn't happen right in front of us (Singaporeans)...does not mean it does not exist," said Ms Olsen, who visits Cambodia every three to four months to help with volunteer projects.

    "It could be anyone of your family members... boys and men are not immune from sex trafficking either."

    Members of the public can catch 3.50 at The Arts House from April 12-16 and May 1-4.