Cablegate: Cambodia: 2nd Quarter Report On Trafficking in Persons
PP RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHPF #1235/01 1861042
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 051042Z JUL 06
FM AMEMBASSY PHNOM PENH
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6985
INFO RUEHZS/ASEAN COLLECTIVE
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 1510
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 04 PHNOM PENH 001235
FOR G/TIP, EAP/MLS and EAP/RSP
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM PREL KWMN CB
SUBJECT: CAMBODIA: 2ND QUARTER REPORT ON TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS
REF: A. PHNOM PENH 1144
B. PHNOM PENH 1153
C. PHNOM PENH 1178
1. (U) Summary: During the second quarter of 2006, the Cambodian
police conducted 17 operations which resulted in the arrest of 26
traffickers and pimps as well as the rescue of 20 trafficking
victims. Four foreign nationals, including an American citizen,
were arrested for sex crimes against children. NGOs reported four
court cases during the period, with conviction ranges from 5 to 10
years imprisonment. Reported abuses of labor migrants to Malaysia
have increased, leading to concern for a better monitoring
mechanism. End Summary.
2. (U) The Ministry of Interior's Anti-Human Trafficking and
Juvenile Protection Department (hereafter referred to as MOI
anti-TIP police) reported the arrest of a woman in early April for
having trafficked a 22 year old Vietnamese woman to Malaysia for
prostitution. The victim agreed to go to Malaysia with the suspect
in July 2005, believing she had a job in a caf, but instead she was
placed in a brothel. After returning home to Cambodia in March, the
victim submitted a complaint against the suspect for luring her into
prostitution in Malaysia. Currently, the suspect is in pretrial
3. (U) On April 4, Police of the Phnom Penh Anti-TIP Unit arrested
three Vietnamese women, one of whom is the mother of the victim, for
selling and buying an 11 month-old baby girl for 70000 riel (USD18).
The suspects were sent to court, and the baby was referred to an
4. (U) On April 8, in cooperation with NGO Action Pour Les Enfants
(APLE), the Phnom Penh Anti-TIP unit arrested a Belgian national for
sexually abusing a underage boy. The man confessed to abusing the
boy on a number of occasions. He was charged with debauchery and is
5. (SBU) In late April, the Battambang Anti-Trafficking Unit, in
cooperation with NGO International Justice Mission (IJM), conducted
a proactive investigation on a beer garden/brothel in Battambang.
The investigation led to a raid, resulting in the arrest of the pimp
and removal of ten sex workers. Police closed down the
establishment. IJM reported that Battambang provincial court
charged the suspect with pimping, but later released him on bail.
Two of the sex workers were 16 and 17 years old.
6. (U) On May 2, the Phnom Penh Anti-TIP Unit arrested a woman for
supplying three underage virgins to an IJM undercover investigator.
IJM said they had been following this case since March and concluded
that the woman was a trafficker. The victims were returned to their
families. The suspect was charged with human-trafficking.
7. (SBU) On May 2, the MOI Anti-TIP Police and Siem Reap Police
commissariat, arrested an owner of a Karaoke parlor in the province
for pimping seven women. One of the women was trafficked from Phnom
Penh, and her parents submitted a complaint. Police referred the
women to AFESIP. The brothel was closed for a while but reportedly
reopened. (Note: AFESIP reported that six of the seven women have
left the shelter. Two of them filed complaints against AFESIP for
detaining them against their will and physically abusing them.
AFESIP denied the charges, saying it is not in the interest of
AFESIP to abuse victims. End Note.)
8. (U) The MOI's Anti-TIP police conducted a proactive
investigation of a Phnom Penh brothel which led to a raid of the
brothel on May 4. This raid resulted in the arrest of a Vietnamese
pimp and removal of five Vietnamese sex workers. The suspect was
charged with pimping. Another suspected pimp escaped. The women
returned to their families.
9. (U) On May 9, the Phnom Penh Anti-TIP unit cooperated with
AFESIP to raid a Phnom Penh brothel, removing six involuntary sex
workers, aged between 23 and 28, and arresting two individuals.
Police sent one of the arrested to court to face pimping charges and
released the other for lack of evidence. The women returned to
10. (SBU) AFESIP reported that on May 10, after receiving a
mother's complaint, the police of the Ministry of Interior went to
Battambang province to rescue a 14-year-old missing girl. The girl
was lured by her peers from Phnom Penh to Battambang province.
AFESIP said that the perpetrators intended to traffic the girl to
Thailand. Police found the girl in a Battambang club under the
influence of drugs. Police arrested three suspects and charged them
with trafficking. (Note: The girl in question is the daughter of
PHNOM PENH 00001235 002 OF 004
Somaly Mam, AFESIP's President. Somaly complimented the police on
their great cooperation to find her daughter. End Note.)
11. (U) On the same day, the police of the Sihanoukville Anti-TIP
Unit cooperated with APLE to arrest a German national for sexually
abusing four underage boys. The boys, aged between 12 and 14,
testified that the suspect abused them. He reportedly used monetary
benefits to entice the street children. APLE said that they had
been investigating the man for five months.
12. (SBU) On May 31, the Phnom Penh Anti-TIP Unit arrested two
owners of a Phnom Penh caf for providing three underage girls for
sexual service. The three victims aged 15 and 16 were taken to WHI
shelter. The suspects are under pretrial detention.
13. (U) On June 1, the Anti-TIP Phnom Penh Unit raided a
foreign-owned pub, and arrested two suspects (French and Vietnamese)
and removed four women. The raid was the result of a proactive
investigation by the police. Three of the women are under 18 years
of age, and were sent to WHI shelter. An adult woman was sent to
AFESIP shelter. The suspects have been charged with pimping.
14. (U) On June 2, the Koh Kong Police cooperated with the Thai
authorities to arrest a Cambodian man for trafficking a Cambodian
woman for prostitution. The man is an owner of a Thailand-based
brothel along the Cambodia border. The 20 year old victim is from
Pursat province and went to Thailand for better economic
opportunities. After managing to return home to Cambodia in March,
she submitted a complaint to police against the suspect for luring
her into prostitution. Police investigated and eventually obtained
an arrest warrant from the Koh Kong provincial court. Police are
seeking to arrest another accomplice.
15. (U) According to AFESIP, another proactive investigation of
the Phnom Penh Anti-TIP Unit led to a raid and arrest on June 12 of
two individuals and rescue of three women who were sent to AFESIP
and WHI. The suspects were charged with pimping.
16. (U) On June 17, MOI Anti-TIP Department and the Phnom Penh
Anti-TIP Unit cooperated with IJM to arrest an American citizen for
sexually abusing several underage Cambodian-Vietnamese girls (Refs A
and B). Four other women have also been arrested for procuring the
underage victims. On June 20, the prosecutor of the Phnom Penh
Municipal Court charged the five suspects with debauchery, human
trafficking, and conspiracy in human trafficking. The suspects are
under pretrial detention. The American citizen is expected to be
extradited to the U.S. under the PROTECT Act. Four of the five
identified victims, aged between 8 and 12, are under WHI's care; the
adult fifth victim is at NGO Hagar.
17. (U) On June 26, the MOI Anti-TIP Department cooperated with
the Police of Kampot province to raid a brothel, removing ten sex
workers. Two individuals who allegedly ran the establishment were
arrested and sent to court. The women, aged 19 to 24, are under
AFESIP's care. The raid was initiated by the parents of a
Vietnamese victim who submitted a complaint to the Vietnamese
authorities, which in turn forwarded it to Cambodian police. The
brothel was closed.
Victims Escaping On Their Own
18. (U) ADHOC reported the trafficking case of a 18 year-old
victim from Poipet. The victim was tricked by a Vietnamese couple
at her home in Poipet and sent to a brothel in Thailand. She was
forced to provide sexual services to no less than ten customers a
day. She managed to return to Cambodia with the help of a Cambodian
client who visited the brothel.
19. (U) PJJ reported receiving a trafficking case on May 18,
involving a 15-year-old victim, who was lured, drugged, and confined
for sexual service in a Kampong Cham guesthouse. The accused is
still at large. The victim subsequently returned to her family.
20. (U) CWCC received another trafficking case on June 16,
involving a 13 year-old victim, who was lured and drugged by an
unknown man to a brothel-like venue. She eventually made her escape
and went to CWCC. Police are investigating.
21. (U) On April 19, the Kampong Cham provincial court conducted
the hearing of an abduction case involving a 15 year old victim.
The suspect was arrested in November 2005 while he was attempting to
abduct the girl. The court acquitted the suspect because the victim
and her parents withdrew their complaint.
PHNOM PENH 00001235 003 OF 004
22. (U) On April 24, the Phnom Penh Municipal court tried an
Australian national, who was arrested in December 2005 for
debauchery and taking pornographic pictures of children. He was
sentenced to ten years imprisonment and ordered to pay civil
compensation of 500 USD to each of his six victims.
23. (U) On June 20, the Phnom Penh Court sentenced two individuals
to five years imprisonment for pimping. The Phnom Penh Anti-TIP
Unit arrested the convicts in September 2005 for operating a
24. (U) On June 21, the Phnom Penh Municipal court opened the
trial of a pimping case and sentenced three suspects to five and six
years of imprisonment. The suspects were arrested in January for
pimping three women aged 24 and 25.
25. (U) According to CWCC, during the reporting period the NGO has
received four complaints from Cambodian women who either are going
or have been to Malaysia through the government-licensed labor
exporting companies. The women reported being strictly controlled
by the companies during their pre-departure training and were
physically abused during their work in Malaysia. They added that
the company refused to help them get out of the exploited situation,
because they were bound by a working contract. The company told them
to pay off the debt incurred for their travel. These cases
highlight a need for monitoring a mechanism to ensure the safety and
well being of Cambodian workers abroad.
26. (SBU) NGOs noted some difficulties in obtaining police
cooperation (Reftel C). IJM claimed that police performance was
worse during the first six months of the year compared to last year
but reported a marked improvement in cooperation towards the end of
June. AFESIP reported having submitted nine cases to the
Commissioner General of the National Police for action during the
reporting period, but only one has resulted in an arrest and rescue.
The remainder are either under police investigation or somewhere in
the chain of the command structure.
27. (SBU) A raid conducted on April 20 in Siem Reap province by
the police of the Anti-TIP Department resulted in no arrests or
rescues. The infamous Vimean Pkay Prak brothel closed down a day
before the police raid. AFESIP told us that during their
investigation that they found underage girls being housed in that
establishment for sexual purposes. A newspaper article reported
that this business was connected with a high-ranking government
official. (Note: During Emboffs investigation in the province in
March, POLOFF also found out that this establishment offered
underage girl for services upon clients' demand. End Note.)
28. (SBU) ADHOC reported receiving a victim of trafficking from
the Stung Treng Anti-TIP police on May 15. The woman, 22 years-old,
originated from Kratie province. She went to Stung Treng in June
last year for a USD30 per month job with the help of a facilitator.
Later, the owner told the victim that she owed USD250 for the
commission for the facilitator and jewelry she brought for her, and
that she had to work as a prostitute to pay it off. The victim
reluctantly agreed and went to work in a brothel. But after almost
a year of prostitution, the owner told her that she had to continue
working to pay another USD150 for incrementing interests of the
USD250 owed. The pimp would not let the victim leave unless she
paid the amount demanded. The victim then called the Anti-TIP
police for help. Police rescued her and sent her to ADHOC.
However, police did not arrest the pimp or close down the brothel.
According to ADHOC, police thought that this was merely a conflict
between the two parties.
29. (U) The Cambodian Police, at the request of the U.S. FBI,
arrested an American Citizen Richard Debski on June 29. Richard
Debski has been wanted by the U.S. FBI for sex crimes he committed
against children in the US. Cambodian Immigration police said that
Cambodia made the arrest to satisfy FBI request made to the
Commissioner General of the National Police. Cambodian police have
not attempted to investigate Depski for other crimes he may have
committed in Cambodia.
30. (U) At a two day conference in June in Ho Chi Minh City
organized by Cambodia's Ministry of Interior, its Vietnamese
counterpart and UNODC, Cambodia and Vietnam agreed to step up
cooperation to fight cross-border human trafficking. As part of the
implementation of Cambodia-Vietnam MOU signed in October 2005, both
countries will create and share a list of suspects and trafficking
rings between the two countries. The head of Cambodian delegation,
General Un Sokunthea, expressed her commitment to work closely with
Vietnam to tighten control over trafficking of Vietnamese women and
PHNOM PENH 00001235 004 OF 004
children into and inside Cambodia.