If ghosts are scary, and dwarfs are creepy, then ghost dwarfs must be an even better bet for thrill-seekers.
This seems to be the logic behind the DREAMLAND haunted house in Cambodia, where customers pay to be terrified by extraordinary-looking people like 30 year-old Horm Sivon, whose photo is gaining international attention. She is one of 10 dwarfs employed at the house alongside other disabled people.
The owner, Hien Rensei, defends his business as one of the few opportunities disabled people in Cambodia have for employment. “Some people may consider it immoral, especially in western countries. But in Cambodia we have the situation that people with disabilities just don’t get hired,” he told The Phnom Penh Post. He spoke of his own experience with discrimination as a Cambodian living and traveling in Japan, the U.K. and Germany. “For two years I couldn’t find a job because I didn’t speak the language and at airports my passport was checked much longer than the ones of my Japanese friends.”
Emilie Arfeuil, the photographer who captured Horm, denounces this industry as “a terrible step backwards in terms of human rights, a degrading exploitation of people’s disabilities.” She has entered the photo in National Geographic’s Photo of the Year contest.
If she wins, will the proceeds go toward furthering employment opportunities for disabled people in Asia?