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Cablegate: Cambodia: 3nd Quarter Report On Trafficking in Persons

DE RUEHPF #1954/01 3001101
P 271101Z OCT 06





E.O. 12958: N/A



1. (U) Summary. From July through September 2006, the police
arrested 24 suspects involved in human trafficking and pimping.
Four foreign nationals, including an American, were arrested for sex
crimes against children. Police rescued 27 victims of trafficking
and sexual exploitation. Six other victims escaped from their
traffickers without help from the authorities. The courts conducted
hearings for at least five cases during the period, which resulted
in the conviction of 17 traffickers with sentences ranging from
three to 24 years. Reports of abuse of laborers migrant to Malaysia
continued. End Summary.

Police Operations

2. (U) On July 3, police of Kampong Cham province and personnel
from the NGO ADHOC intervened in an attempted trafficking case to
rescue one victim. Police arrested two suspects who drugged and
raped the victim and attempted to sell her in Poipet. The suspects
were sent to court, but were reportedly released for lack of

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3. (U) On July 4, the Banteay Meanchey Police, based on an ADHOC
complaint, arrested an individual who lured three girls from Poipet
and sold them into a brothel in Thailand. The suspect is in
pretrial detention. The victims returned home in late August after
receiving help from Cambodian and Thai authorities.

4. (U) On July 9, the Anti-TIP Phnom Penh Unit raided a Phnom Penh
brothel and removed three voluntary sex workers. Police acted on a
complaint from the NGO AFESIP, whose personnel filed a complaint,
which reported the presence of underage sex workers during their
investigation. During the police raid, only three adult women were
found; the pimp escaped. Police arrested a man who happened to be
at the scene, but later released him. Police closed down the
brothel. The women returned to their community in Phnom Penh after
staying at the shelter for a limited period.

5. (U) On July 11, The Anti-TIP Phnom Penh Unit arrested an
individual who procured two women at a hotel for sexual services.
Police referred the women to an AFESIP shelter, which they
subsequently left after receiving counseling. The suspect was
detained and charged with pimping.

6. (SBU) On July 18, Police of the Counterterrorism Department of
the Ministry of Interior raided a brothel in Siem Reap at the direct
order of the Commissioner General of the National Police, Hok Lundy.
The raid resulted in the arrest of an owner of the brothel and the
rescue of nine women and girls, some of whom are under 18 years of
age. AFESIP reported that Hok Lundy took action immediately after
having received a complaint from AFESIP of repeated failures of
Anti-TIP police in Siem Reap to raid this establishment. (Note:
The counterterrorism police, a well-equipped and specially trained
police unit, were deployed in the second raid of the Chai Hour II
hotel. End Note.)

7. (SBU) On July 20, The Phnom Penh Anti-TIP Police raided another
brothel, which resulted in the removal of five Vietnamese sex
workers, ages 22-25. Police arrested two suspects and charged them
with pimping. AFESIP later reported to the Embassy that the court
may have dropped the charge against the suspects, citing lack of
evidence. The women were referred to the AFESIP shelter but later
decided to return to their families on their own.

8. (U) On July 25, Police of the Anti-Human Trafficking and
Juvenile Protection Department (hereafter referred to as MOI's
Anti-TIP Department) raided a Kampong Speu brothel, resulting in the
arrest of two suspects, one of whom is a former military lieutenant,
and the removal of 18 voluntary sex workers. The Kampong Speu court
charged the suspect with pimping. AFESIP had earlier filed a
complaint against this brothel in April. Police referred the women
to the AFESIP shelter; most of them left the shelter shortly
afterwards, only two remain.

9. (U) On July 27, the Sihanoukville Anti-TIP police rescued a
woman who was sold into a brothel by an unknown man who promised to
help her find a job. The victim did not file a complaint, as she
reportedly claimed that she could not identify the perpetrator.

10. (U) On July 30, police of the Phnom Penh Anti-TIP Unit
arrested three suspects for the attempted trafficking of three
Cambodian women to Malaysia. The three women, ages 19, 20 and 23,
agreed to go to Malaysia with the suspects because they promised to
find them a good job. The women were turned over to the Department
of Social Affairs for further referral.

11. (U) Police of the MOI Anti-TIP Department, in cooperation with
International Justice Mission (IJM), arrested a suspect on July 31,

PHNOM PENH 00001954 002 OF 004

for selling three underage girls for sexual exploitation. The
suspect is one of five men involved in selling victims to
IJM-disguised clients on July 19. IJM took the three victims to the
police department after the transaction. The girls are now at an
NGO-run shelter. The NGO Legal Support for Children and Women
provided legal representation to the victims.

12. (SBU) On the same day in Sihanoukville, the Anti-TIP police
arrested Amcit Terry Smith and his Cambodian girlfriend for
debauchery committed on two underage girls. The Sihanoukville court
detained him, but later granted him bail for medical reasons. On
September 20, the immigration police rearrested Smith in Phnom Penh.
He was deported to the U.S. on October 14 in the custody of U.S.
Marshals. The girlfriend remains free on bail.

13. (U) On August 4, the Phnom Penh Anti-TIP Unit arrested three
suspected human traffickers for the attempted trafficking of eight
girls, ages 12-18, from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap. Police intercepted
them before they departed to Siem Reap. The three suspects are
under pretrial detention.

14. (U) On August 28, police of the Siem Reap Anti-TIP Department
rescued three high school students, ages 16 to 18, who were
trafficked to Siem Reap by their peers. The girls' parents
complained to ADHOC and requested help. The suspects remain at
large, and the girls returned to their families.

15. (U) On August 31, the Anti-TIP Phnom Penh Police raided a
Phnom Penh brothel and took into custody ten Vietnamese voluntary
sex workers. Police arrested one suspect and charged him with
pimping. The women were referred to an AFESIP shelter.

16. (U) The Phnom Penh Anti-TIP Unit arrested a Swiss national on
August 31 for sexually abusing a 13-year-old girl. Hurni Hans
Ulrich was arrested in a hotel room while in the company of the
victim. Police also arrested the girl's mother and accused her of
selling her daughter. Ulrich confessed that he had been having a
sexual relationship with the girl over the last two years and had
paid between USD 5 and 10 for each encounter. The Phnom Penh court
charged the foreigner and mother on September 4 with debauchery and
human trafficking, respectively.

17. (U) A string of operations in late August conducted by the
Anti-TIP Phnom Penh Unit led to a crackdown on a possible pedophile
network. Police arrested five persons suspected of involvement with
the sexual exploitation of children. The suspects were charged with
debauchery, and except for one who was hospitalized, they are under
pretrial detention (see reftel A).

18. (U) On September 3, police of the Anti-TIP Pailin Unit
arrested two women for trafficking a 16-year-old Vietnamese girl
from Phnom Penh to a massage parlor in Pailin. Police conducted the
raid based on a complaint from ADHOC. The first suspect recruited
the girl from Phnom Penh, claiming that she would take the girl to
work in a cafe in Thailand for 100 USD per month. The second
suspect is the owner of a massage/brothel in Pailin, where the girl
worked as a prostitute. The victim returned to her family.

Victims Escape Without Help

19. (U) On July 14, a 14-year-old girl made her way back home
after being taken to the Thai border by a neighbor who raped her and
attempted to sell her in Thailand. After not finding a buyer and
with the girl insisting she return home, the perpetrators decided to
bring the victim back. Currently, the traffickers remain at large.

20. (U) On July 25, a woman who was drugged, abducted and sold
into a brothel in Sihanoukville managed to escape to ADHOC. She
asked for help to return to her home in Prey Veng, but refused to
file a complaint against her abductor. ADHOC contacted police for
help to get the victim out of the brothel, but the brothel remains
open. ADHOC noted that they can act only in response to a victim's

21. (U) A 17-year-old girl from Steung Treng province returned
home on August 3, after being drugged and sold in Phnom Penh by an
acquaintance. The suspects remain at large. ADHOC informed
authorities of this case.

22. (U) On August 7, a case of labor trafficking occurred in
Kratie province. A 16-year-old girl returned home after being sold
into an ice shop by a neighbor. With ADHOC's help, the mother filed
a complaint with police after realizing that a neighbor tricked her
daughter into going with him. The suspect escaped and remains at

23. (U) On August 14, a 23-year-old woman from Takeo made her way
out of a Kampot brothel to which she was sold by an acquaintance two

PHNOM PENH 00001954 003 OF 004

days earlier. She submitted a compliant to NGOs and the police.
The case is under investigation.

24. (SBU) On August 18, a 15-year-old victim of rape and
trafficking from Svay Rieng province returned home after being sold
into a brothel in Phnom Penh. The victim's parents filed a
complaint to authorities against the traffickers. The local police
and village chief allegedly forced the victim to accept compensation
and drop her complaint as the perpetrators are allegedly connected
with a district governor of Svay Rieng. The victim received
compensation of almost 2 million riels (500 USD).

Court Cases

25. (U) On July 11, the Phnom Penh court tried a trafficking case
involving seven victims trafficked to Thailand for prostitution.
The presiding judge found the seven suspects guilty and sentenced
them to prison terms, ranging from 12-19 years. One of the suspects
was convicted on two counts, trafficking and pimping.

26. (U) On July 27, the Phnom Penh Municipal Court tried a
trafficking case involving six human traffickers. The leader of the
trafficking ring received 24 years in prison, the highest sentence
ever handed down for trafficking offenses in Cambodia. Penalties
for the other five perpetrators ranged from 15 to 19 years. The
court also ordered the defendants to pay civil compensation of 3,500
USD in total to nine victims, three of whom are minors, ages 14 and

27. (U) On August 8, the Phnom Penh court tried a trafficking case
involving two perpetrators and one victim. The judge sentenced the
perpetrators to 13 and 15 years, respectively, and ordered
compensation of 8 million riels (2,000 USD) to the victim. The
defendants lured the then-17-year-old victim to Phnom Penh and later
drugged her and forced her have sex with clients.

28. (U) On August 18, the Phnom Penh opened the trial of a
trafficking case involving a 12-day-old child. The defendant is the
victim's mother who sold her child in March 2006 for money. The
judge acquitted the mother.

29. (U) On August 27, the Appeals Court overturned the Phnom Penh
Municipal Court's verdict, reducing the sentence of a a sexual
abuser of a 14-year-old girl to three years imprisonment and
compensation of 2 million riels (500 USD) for indecent assault.
Earlier, the Phnom Penh court convicted the perpetrator of
debauchery and sentenced him to 15 years and ordered compensation of
500,000 riels (125 USD).

30. (U) On September 12, the Siem Reap provincial court conducted
the trial of a pimping case involving two victims. The court found
the suspect guilty of committing debauchery and sentenced him to 3
years imprisonment and fined him five million riels (750 USD).

31. (U) On September 26, The Phnom Penh Municipal court tried
another trafficking case, convicting a Vietnamese woman to 15 years
for attempting to sell her two daughters to a club in Phnom Penh.
The Anti-TIP Phnom Penh Unit arrested the woman in March when she
brought her twin daughters, age 16, from Vietnam. A Police report
showed that the woman had come to Cambodia before and sold her
daughters' virginity to a Singaporean man for USD 1,000 each. The
mother and daughters denied the charge and protested the verdict.

Other issues

32. (U) In late August, authorities of Toul Kork district launched
a campaign against prostitution. They collected 47 prostitutes from
nine brothels and other venues in the area and referred them to NGO
shelters. Twenty-seven customers and two facilitators were arrested
during the operations, but all were later released. Police claimed
the raids were part of the government's agenda to eliminate
prostitution. The NGO community believes that the police should
have focused on arresting pimps rather than merely removing sex
workers from brothels (see reftel B).

33. (U) ADHOC reported intervening in two cases of attempted
trafficking to Malaysia. According to ADHOC, the two women agreed
to go to Malaysia with the facilitators to get well-paid jobs. They
subsequently changed their minds out of concern for labor
exploitation and fear of being trafficked.

34. (U) A seven-year-old boy was sold by his father to a brick
factory to repay the debt the father owed to the factory owner. The
mother filed a complaint with police and ADHOC. Initially, the
owner refused to return the boy unless the parents repaid the debt,
but eventually gave in after NGO and police intervention.

35. (U) Reports of Cambodian migrant workers to Malaysia being

PHNOM PENH 00001954 004 OF 004

abused and exploited continued. During the reporting period,
Cambodian Women's Crisis Center reported receiving four Cambodian
migrant workers who went to work in Malaysia and were put in
exploitative and abusive conditions. On August 22, a 23-year-old
woman who went to Malaysia alleged that the MLC Labor Supply Company
forced her to work until the end of the contract, although she
complained of mistreatment by her employer. Another woman
complained that the Quata Human Resources Company demanded USD 2,500
compensation from her parents after she left the home of her abusive
employer. (Note: One of the two implicated companies is known to
be properly licensed, i.e. having deposited the amount of money
required by the Ministry of Labor to gain the rights to export
labor. The status of the other is unclear. End Note.)

36. (SBU) Comment: There has been little change in the level of
law enforcement activity and arrests between this reporting period
and the second quarter. NGOs continue to complain of police
failure to take action on some cases in a timely manner. The Toul
Kork police's crackdown on prostitution in the district garnered
public criticism and has had little impact on brothel activity in
the area.


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