Reporters on the job

OLDER THAN THEY LOOK: As Rafael Frankel reported his story on child trafficking in Cambodia, he kept underestimating the age of his interviewees (page 7). The main boy he interviewed at the Battambang Center was 15, "but he looked about 10. The oldest boy there, who was 18, looked about 13. My translator said Khmers (Cambodia's largest ethnic group) are favored by child traffickers because they tend to be small and cute," says Rafael. "You can get a kid who is 13, who looks like he's 8. There is less maintenance and they evoke more sympathy [for begging]. The younger they look, the more people will give."

TICKET TO THE US: When the Monitor's Africa correspondent Danna Harman visited the Kenyan refugee camp for today's story (this page), she was struck by what miserable conditions the Bantus live under, and have little concept of what going to the US means. "They have no TV, books, or magazines. I asked them what they were going to do in the US. They said, 'What we did at home: farm.' " The Bantu Somalis are the most persecuted in the camp. But their US-bound status has transformed their social standing. "Bantu single girls are suddenly popular. And parents are offering Bantu families money to take their children to the US. Officials are trying to weed out those who aren't really family members."

- David Clark Scott

World editor


GIRLS SHOULD RULE: Most Japanese would support legal changes to allow a woman to inherit the throne, says a national newspaper poll - reflecting a shift in public attitudes as a result of the birth of a princess this month. The Associated Press reports that 86 percent of those surveyed by Mainichi Shimbun say it is time to amend the 1947 law that permits only men to reign. More men than women favored changing the law.

Cultural snapshot

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