Phnom Penh municipal anti-human trafficking police rescued four girls aged 10 to 18 while arresting four Vietnamese nationals and a Cambodian accused of holding the girls captive as sex slaves, police said yesterday.
Keo Thea, municipal chief of anti-trafficking, said police arrested Cambodian Chin Sokchoeun, 40, and Vietnamese national Teav Hinlok, 22, on Monday in Tuol Kok district’s Phsar Doeum Kor commune and rescued two girls, Mr Thea said.
Based on the arrested suspects’ confessions, police then arrested Vietnamese nationals Ly Yong Pho, 24, Leir Thy Va, 38, and Nguyen Thy Tin, 40, on Wednesday in Chamkar Mon district’s Tonle Bassac commune as they were about to make their escape.
Police learned about the imprisoned girls after discovering that Mr Sokchoeun, a motodop driver, was sending SMS text messages to foreigners about a child sex service. Mr Thea said police responded to Mr Sokchoeun with a message expressing interest and when the girls were delivered, officers arrested Mr Sokchoeun.
“Chim Sokchoeun sent messages to foreigners telling them that he had girls from ages 8 to 16 available for sexual services,” he said, declining to elaborate on how police officials first discovered the messages.
Mr Thea said one of the victims was Ms Thy Va’s own teenage daughter, but that she ran away before police officers could get to her.
“[Ms] Thy Va and [Ms] Thy Tin rented a room for sex services in Tuol Sangke commune [with] Ms Va’s daughter, who is 14 or 15 years old,” he said. “[The suspects] said they would get $200 to $300 from each client.”
Mr Thea said all five suspects confessed and were sent to the Phnom Penh Municipal Court late yesterday.