Cafe Owners Get Seven Years for Pimping Staff

A couple who pimped six waitresses from their Phnom Penh coffee shop last year were sentenced to seven years in prison on Thursday, with two years suspended, and ordered to pay $500 in compensation to five of the women.

Pham Thi Phuong, 39, from Vietnam, and her Cambodian husband Doung Lim, 59, were convicted of procuring prostitution with aggravating circumstances, as two of the victims were underage, court officials said.

Their cafe in Meanchey district was raided by anti-human trafficking police on September 10. Ms. Phuong testified during their trial at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court earlier this month that she knew the women were selling sex but denied taking a cut of the profits. She said the women had merely given her money for food.

“The court sentenced the defendants to seven years, but they will serve only five years in prison. The remaining term was suspended,” Presiding Judge Heng Sokna announced on Thursday. “Suspending a sentence is normal,” he added, without elaborating.

No payment was ordered for the sixth woman as she did not seek compensation.

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