5 Trafficking Suspects Arrested in Brothel Raid

Five human trafficking suspects were arrested and 12 women rescued on Tuesday after the Min­is­try of Interior’s anti-human trafficking police and Battambang pro­vincial police raided a guesthouse in Battambang town, police said Wednesday.

The raid marks the third operation between the Ministry of In­ter­ior and the women’s protection NGO Afesip since a highly public in­­cident in December when more than 80 women were taken from an Afesip shelter and police failed to prosecute suspects ac­cused of pimp­ing the women at the Chai Hour II Hotel in Phnom Penh.

Three of the women taken from the Battambang brothel were un­der 18 years old, Un Sokunthea, dir­ector of the Ministry of In­ter­ior’s anti-human trafficking department, said Wednesday.

Police arrested suspected brothel owner Chon Toeur, 34, em­­ployees Chom Baraing, 22, Khum Raksmey, 22, Men Dara, 22, and landlord Tith, 50, at the Sun Sa­may guesthouse, said Chan Nareth, deputy chief of the pro­­­v­incial anti-human trafficking de­­partment.

“I raided the guesthouse after we received warrants from the pro­vincial court which charged that the guesthouse has been running as a brothel parlor with crowds of sex workers,” Chan Na­reth said.

“They would never admit they were under 18. But two of them looked for sure like they were under 18. They looked between 13 and 16,” said Romboul Seang, Afesip deputy country director.

Afesip accompanied police on the raid and escorted the women back to its shelter in Phnom Penh where they are receiving medical treat­­ment before being interviewed, Romboul Seang said.

Afesip filed a complaint to the Min­istry of Interior on May 6 after its in­vestigators found that the wo­men were not allowed to leave the brothel.

Chan Nareth said it was the first raid in his province this year.



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