Five Cambodian sex workers were rescued by police from sexual exploitation and physical torture in a Koh Kong brothel last week, said Sin Sen, chief of judicial police for Koh Kong province.
All five claim they are under 18 years of age. They were taken from a brothel in Stung Veng commune, Smach Meanchey district, Sin Sen said.
The girls told police they had been beaten by the brothel owner and kept in the brothel against their will, he said. They were sent to stay with an unnamed human rights group in Koh Kong town, where they will be cared for and taught vocational skills, he said.
Police staged two raids on the same brothel following a tip from the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, the chief said. Three girls were rescued in the first raid and two in the second.
Sin Sen said Stung Veng has recently sprung up as a brothel district. Previously, he said, a few brothels were scattered in the environs of Koh Kong town. But recently Stung Veng, 20 km from the town, has developed into a thriving brothel area.
The Ministry of Women’s Affairs has called for action to wipe out the brothels, and the provincial governor has ordered the police to crack down on the new red-light district, Sin Sen said. The brothel’s owner is still at large—she escaped before the police arrived, the police chief said. But police know the woman’s identity and are waiting for a warrant from the court to arrest her, he added.