The Shame

Mama San won't budge from $1,000. There's the food, the clothes, the makeup, the perfume and the condoms, not to mention the fees of the middlemen. At $1,000, she's making nothing, she says. She taps out the figure in baht on a calculator and holds it up: 43,650. You won't get a pair of 14-year-old Burmese girls for less in this town.

"Thirty thousand," I suggest.

"Forty-three," counters Mama San. She tells Tip (whose name means "heavenly light") and Lek (meaning "small") to fetch their chips. The two tiny figures squatting at her feet jump...

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