Cablegate: Cambodia: 2007 2nd Quarter Report On Trafficking in Persons
PP RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM RUEHNH
DE RUEHPF #0936/01 1970116
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 160116Z JUL 07
FM AMEMBASSY PHNOM PENH
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8699
INFO RUCNASE/ASEAN MEMBER COLLECTIVE
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 PHNOM PENH 000936
FOR G/TIP, EAP/MLS and EAP/RSP
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM PREL KWMN CB
SUBJECT: CAMBODIA: 2007 2ND QUARTER REPORT ON TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS
1. (U) Summary: During the period April to June 2007, the
Cambodian police arrested four human traffickers, one German
pedophile, and two pimps. At least five victims of trafficking were
rescued during the reporting period and ten sex workers were removed
from brothels. Cambodian courts sentenced fourteen human
traffickers, three pimps and one American pedophile. Trafficking in
persons (TIP) non-governmental organizations (NGOs) generally
reported a decrease in police and court cooperation in anti-TIP
activity compared to previous quarters. However, government reports
show little change in court and police workload. Police and court
activity are detailed starting at para. 7. The Svay Pak
neighborhood of Phnom Penh, made infamous as a child sex trade
destination, and which officials declared shut down by a series of
high-profile raids, is reported to be operational again. The Royal
Government of Cambodia (RGC) and NGOs cooperated on the RGC's
national task force to combat trafficking in persons, which was
publicly announced this quarter. End summary.
TIP Activity Lull?
2. (SBU) This quarter we received information from the Ministry of
Interior (MOI); Phnom Penh Municipal Court; shelters: AFESIP,
Cambodian Women's Crisis Center (CWCC), and World Hope
International; court monitor: ADHOC; and rescue organizations:
Action Pour Les Enfants (APLE) and International Justice Mission
(IJM). Nearly all of the trafficking in persons (TIP) NGOs that
provided the Embassy with quarterly TIP data reported lower numbers
this quarter than in the first quarter of 2007, and in some cases
lower than any quarter in the past 12 months. Many NGO contacts
stated that the decreases were in cases related to work that relies
on cooperation from Cambodian authorities for referrals, law
enforcement, and official investigations. AFESIP normally includes
in its quarterly reports complaints filed with the police and courts
based on information from victims that come to them for shelter
services, and the action taken by police and courts based on these
complaints. In past quarters, police and courts have had good track
records of responding to AFESIP. However, this quarter AFESIP
reports that, of the three complaints they filed with the Ministry
of Interior and local courts, no action has yet been taken on the
3. (SBU) At a May 31 TIP luncheon during EAP/MLS Deputy Director
Eleanor Nagy's visit to Post, former IJM Director Kaign Christy
posited that the drop in activity may be due to complacency among
governmental actors who feel less nervous now that Cambodia is off
Tier 3. However, more recently, APLE's new director Seila Samleang
told us that since January 2007 the Phnom Penh municipal anti-human
trafficking unit has had internal problems that have led to a
decrease in police activity.
4. (U) The first quarter of 2007 saw a marked jump in reported
activity of the Phnom Penh Court, as compared to previous quarters.
Q2 figures for court cases and convictions reported by the PP Court
are more on par with the usual activity. MOI activity this quarter
is roughly equal with that in the first quarter of 2007, but appears
to be lower than quarterly activity in 2006.
Svay Pak Endures
5. (SBU) IJM's concerns that the child sex trade may be continuing
in the Svay Pak neighborhood of Phnom Penh were recently reported in
The Cambodia Daily newspaper. The article stated Svay Pak is "back
in business" quoting IJM that the high level of government
officials' involvement with the area makes it difficult to stop the
child sex trade there. IJM's Christy and Director of Investigations
Ron Dunne told Poloff the Svay Pak neighborhood of Phnom Penh is
still operating as a center for sex tourism and the sexual
exploitation of children. They said that although the area became a
focus of police raid activity, the area continues to harbor
traffickers and pimps and the victims they exploit, however
trafficking activity was pushed "underground". IJM described
trafficking activities in Svay Pak as difficult to pinpoint, as a
cunning network of perpetrators and the winding alleys of the area
make it easy for businesses to pack up and hide quickly.
National Task Force
6. (U) On April 6, the RGC publicly launched the "National Task
Force to implement the bilateral and multilateral-agreements and
Memoranda of Understanding between the Royal Government of Cambodia
and Relevant Countries on the Elimination of Trafficking in Persons
and Assisting Victims of Trafficking" (NTF). The NTF is meant to be
a coordinating mechanism for anti-TIP entities and action. It is
headed by the Secretary of State for the Ministry of Women's Affairs
(MOWA) You Ay with 18 RGC member agencies such as MOWA, MOI,
Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth, Ministry of Justice,
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Ministry of Labor, Council of Ministers, Cambodian National Council
for Children, Cambodian National Council for Women, and the national
police. In May, the NTF finalized a structure that included working
groups on prevention, protection and prosecution. Each group
includes NGO and RGC members and is broken down into smaller
committees, called cluster groups, that will focus on activities
such as creating best practices, court training, law enforcement
training and shelter activities. This quarter's activity includes
determining cluster group composition and responsibilities.
7. (U) On April 3, local police in the Ochrov neighborhood of Siem
Reap helped rescue a 19-year-old from working as a prostitute during
a sex trade crackdown. CWCC worked together with the police on the
rescue and the woman is now receiving care at a CWCC shelter.
8. (U) On April 23, police in Banteay Meanchey province assisted a
19-year-old runaway in finding support services at a CWCC shelter.
Police recognized the youth as vulnerable to trafficking. There
were no arrests made connected to this case.
9. (U) On May 8, the Phnom Penh municipal anti-human trafficking
police arrested German citizen Walter Munz, age 62, on charges of
debauchery for sexually abusing a 13-year-old girl in the Prampi
Makara district of Phnom Penh. Police arrested Munz while he was in
a guesthouse room with the victim. APLE assisted police with the
case, as the organization had Munz under observation since March.
Munz appears to have been jailed in the past in Germany for child
sexual abuse. The case is currently awaiting trial.
10. (U) On May 19, police in Poipet, near the border with Thailand,
arrested 31-year-old Chrin Da on charges of trafficking after he
sold an 18-year-old disabled woman into begging in Thailand. The
woman was picked up by Thai police and returned to Poipet where the
trafficker found her and threatened to send her back to Thailand.
The owner of the house where the victim was staying went to police
and ADHOC for intervention.
11. (U) On May 24, IJM assisted police to arrest one brothel
manager and rescued seven sexually exploited women ages 18 to 21
from the "76" brothel in Poipet. All are Vietnamese. The owner of
the brothel was not on site during the raid and was not arrested.
IJM reported that one raid operation during this quarter and one
operation during the previous quarter were sabotaged, they believe,
because of leaked information. There are several possibilities for
the source of the leak including: IJM staff, police, or someone
within the Ministry of Interior's Department of Anti-Human
Trafficking who had access to IJM's investigation information.
12. (U) On May 28, police in the town of Poipet, Banteay Meanchey
province conducted a brothel raid and arrested an 18-year-old
Vietnamese man, Keo Samang, on charges of sexual exploitation. Keo
Samang was working as brothel manager and was pimping two
19-year-old Vietnamese women at the time of arrest. Keo Samang is
being held by police in Banteay Meanchey awaiting court
investigation and trial.
13. (U) On June 18, immigration authorities in Koh Kong, and police
under the local anti-human trafficking office proactively,
cooperatively and swiftly acted to rescue two infants from being
trafficked into Thailand. The ringleader of the incident escaped
arrest but three female suspects were arrested on charges of human
trafficking by the Koh Kong police. The victims are seven days and
six weeks old. World Hope International describes the traffickers
as well-prepared and well-funded. The traffickers are under arrest
until their trial in a Koh Kong court. The Ministry of Social
Affairs placed the infants in the care of World Hope International.
14. (U) On April 25, the Appeals Court convicted two perpetrators
on charges of trafficking. The two Cambodian offenders each
received 15-year prison sentences and were ordered to pay 1,500,000
riel (about USD 365) compensation to each of their four victims,
ages 18-24. Police arrested the pair in October 2002. AFESIP
provided legal aid to the victims and reported the court decision to
15. (U) On May 3, two traffickers were convicted by the Svay Rieng
provincial court and received five-year prison sentences. A third
suspect was acquitted. Svay Rieng police were responsible for the
arrest of the individuals. AFESIP provided legal aid to the victims
and reported the court decision to the Embassy.
16. (U) On May 30, the Phnom Penh Municipal Court sentenced two
females of Vietnamese descent connected with the crimes of U.S.
pedophile Michael Joseph Pepe. The two offenders were convicted on
PHNOM PENH 00000936 003 OF 003
charges of pimping and human trafficking. IJM reports that the
women were responsible for procuring four girls ages 9-12 for sex
with Pepe. The women received 27- and 15-year sentences. In
February, Pepe was escorted to the U.S. by the Immigration and
Customs Enforcement to face charges in California under the PROTECT
17. (U) On May 31, Judge Chhay Kong of the PP Court sentenced a
woman, Nguyen Thi Haing, 22, and a man, Hor Phien Bien, 22, to 12
years in prison each from the date of arrest for the crime of human
trafficking. The two offenders were arrested in Phnom Penh on June
19, 2002 for trafficking Vin Thi Thaing, female, age 22, into
18. (U) On May 31, the Kampot provincial court convicted one
individual arrested on charges of trafficking in January 2007. The
perpetrator was sentenced to two years in prison and a three million
riel (about USD 735) fine. AFESIP provided legal aid to the victims
and reported the court decision to the Embassy.
19. (U) On June 1, Judge Iv Kim Sry of PP Court sentenced three
women charged with human trafficking. Thirty-five-year-old
"Abdullahkina" was sentenced to 15 years in prison from her arrest
date, Nguyen Thi Yung, 49, 17 years from the date of arrest, and
Pham Thi Em, 51, 15 years from date of arrest. They were arrested
in Phnom Penh on Nov. 15, 2006 for trafficking victims into
20. (U) On June 4, Phnom Penh Municipal Court sentenced U.S.
citizen Boris Myron Ma to 13 years in prison and a three million
riel (about USD 735) compensation fine for debauchery after he paid
a pimp to procure a 14-year-old girl for sex. The pimp, Lay Seng
Hor, was originally charged with human trafficking but on June 4 was
convicted and sentenced to 13 years in prison on a pimping charge.
Three other males were also sentenced in connection with the case:
Ek Sok, 44, Ek Sophea, 33, Ros Bann, 48, received pimping
convictions; they will each serve eight years in prison.
21. (U) On June 27, PP Court sentenced a Vietnamese woman, Nguyen
Thi Lung, age 39, to 15 years in prison on charges of kidnapping.
Nguyen Thi Lung was arrested in May 2006 when she tried to sell and
prostitute a 12-year-old Vietnamese girl in Phnom Penh. The
offender is also required to pay 10 million riel (about USD 2400) in
punitive damages to the victim.
22. (U) On June 28, court officials assisted U.S. Immigration and
Customs Enforcement officials as they made preparations to escort
Roger Dale Green back to the U.S. where he faces charges under the
PROTECT Act for sex with two underage girls.
23. (U) On June 29, the PP Court acquitted British citizen, Paul
Bower, of charges that he sexually abused two underage boys, ages 12
and 14, in January. Bower was working as an English teacher in
Phnom Penh when he was arrested.