The Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Friday charged the owner of a beauty salon with running a prostitution operation, as police made four more arrests of people suspected of similar crimes across the city.
Military police officers arrested Chan Sreynuch, 38, on Wednesday, detaining and releasing five other women and a driver during raids on a VIP room at City Cat bubble tea cafe in Daun Penh district and in a Toul Kok district hotel room.
Municipal Deputy Prosecutor Meas Chanpiseth said he had charged Ms. Sreynuch with acting as an intermediary between men and prostitutes and procuring sex. She is in pretrial detention at Prey Sar prison, Mr. Chanpiseth said. Ms. Sreynuch’s Mikasa Beauty Salon counts among its patrons many Khmer pop music and film stars.
It is not clear why military police —who are normally concerned with cases involving other members of the armed forces—made the arrest of the beauty salon owner.
National Military Police spokesman Kheng Tito said the bust did not involve anyone of high rank.
In a separate case on Friday, municipal anti-human trafficking police raided a house in Chamkar Mon district and arrested a man and a woman from Vietnam for their alleged involvement in the sex trade, said Keo Thea, Phnom Penh municipal anti-human trafficking police chief.
Six girls, aged between 11 and 17, and three other women, were discovered at the property. “Nine of the Vietnamese are victims,” Mr. Thea said. “They have been sent to the social affairs department.”
He said police had sent the suspects, Vinh Thi Yong and Vinh Yaing Diep, to court yesterday to be charged with arranging prostitution involving a minor.
Samleang Seila, anti-pedophile NGO Action pour les Enfants’ (APLE) country director, said APLE aided a three-month-long police investigation into the Vietnamese suspects.
“They [the Vietnamese suspects] had been keeping a number of girls for a long time,” he said. “This is part of the virgin trade.”
Also on Friday, Ministry of Interior police searched a guesthouses and a hotel in Daun Penh and Tuol Kok districts and arrested two women for facilitating the buying of sex, according to Ten Borany, deputy director of the anti-human trafficking and juvenile protection department at the Interior Ministry.
Tit Hun, 47, and Chum Sreynuch, 28, were caught delivering six women, four of whom were aged between 16 and 18, to the Monaco Hotel and Toek Meas Guesthouse for customers, he said.
“The suspects confessed to being involved in the sex trade for a year,” Mr. Borany said.
In all of the cases, arrests were made away from brothels, karaoke parlors and beer gardens, the traditional locations for Phnom Penh’s sex trade.
“As a result of several years now of focus by the government and civil society, and including the media …we are seeing a decrease in young girls available at commercial establishments,” said Patrick Stayton, director of the anti-trafficking NGO International Justice Mission’s Cambodia office. “But now, there’s a non-establishment side. It is not as open.”