In a small, dimly lit room at the Burmese immigration office, on the border of northern Thailand and Burma, there is a large, luminous portrait of Gen. Than Shwe, festooned with medals and ribbons.
His steely gaze surveys the hundreds of foreign tourists who cross the Thai-Burma border bridge to visit the ramshackle, open-air market at Tachilek each day. He is also the embodiment of strict and relentless censorship, from poetry to the latest Rambo film (set in Burma)—everything controlled by his Orwellian regime.
However, less than 50 meters away, under the bridge on the Burmese side—and for a little over a dollar—you can buy films depicting the sexual abuse and torture of British, American, European, and Asian children. Some are aged as young as four, while none is older than twelve.
And unless you are a saffron-robed monk, you will not be searched on the way back across the border into Thailand.
While the market at Tachilek is notorious for fake designer goods, dubious precious gemstones, the teeth, skulls, and skins of endangered animals, and phony, placebo-inducing pharmaceuticals, the child pornography is real.
The chilling tears and shrieks are not the result of dubbing or digital manipulation.
The graphic footage of a five-year-old Cambodian girl having her arms strapped to her legs with electrical tape before being subjected to unspeakable violations is...