Child Rape May Be on the Rise, NGO Says

Two men were sent to Battambang provincial court Friday, after they were arrested for rape, according to Seng Son, chief of Battambang province’s anti-human trafficking office.

In Battambang province, Hun Sam Oeurn, 39, was arrested last week for allegedly raping his 15-year-old daughter. The father raped the girl over a period of five years, threatening to kill the girl if she told family or police.

Rin Pheara, 19, allegedly raped his 12-year-old sister, claiming that he was broken-hearted after his girlfriend broke up with him and that he wanted to have sex.

Child rape remains widespread in Cambodia and may be increasing, human rights group Ad­hoc reported Thursday.

The group on Thursday released the details of its investigations into 156 rape cases reported to it in the first half of 2005.

In a surprising departure from last year’s cases, three out of four victims so far this year were underage girls, according to a statement released by the group.

By comparison, in 2004 only 13 percent of 326 rape complaints re­ported to the group involved un­der­age girls.

There was no detectable statistical reason for the dramatic jump in underage cases, Adhoc officials said.

Lim Mony, chief of Adhoc’s wo­men section said Sunday that underreporting of rape remains widespread and that anecdotal evidence suggests it is increasing.

“Government officials have ig­nored the matter of the increase of rape because the majority of victims are from poor families,” she said.

In the cases reported to Adhoc, 26 percent of rapists confessed they had raped multiple victims and had never been punished.

Lim Mony cited a judge, who re­peatedly told Adhoc that Cambodian so­ciety correctly uses money to solve rape cases, as an example of of­ficial insensitivity to the matter.

According to the report, in 23 percent of cases reported to Adhoc this year, compensation payments were made by rapists to the families of victims. In only two percent of the cases were drugs involved.

Touch Socheata, women’s rights supervisor at Licadho, said many rapists target poor girls because they have little access to the justice system.

Rapists who fear acquiring HIV from sex workers also target younger girls, said Touch Socheata.

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