Cops Onto Child Sex Crimes

Cambodian law enforcement officers were urged to trade theory for practice at the closing ceremony Friday of a two-week training course on police methods to combat child trafficking and sexual exploitation.

Presiding over the ceremony, First Deputy Director of National Police Sau Phan called on the 16 officers to put their training into effective work that protects child victims and leads to the ar­rest of perpetrators.

The officers who participated on the course now carry the responsibility of ensuring child sex cases that fall within their jurisdiction are dealt with professionally, Sau Phan said.

“We put our trust in the [po­lice] inspectors, now that they have undergone this training course,” Sau Phan said.

Valerie Taton, a Unicef child rights officer, said the course, part of a joint project between the Interior Ministry, the UN and three NGOs, provides the first steps to protect children that must now continue in the courthouses and police stations.

“When you go back to your respective districts, or to the court, you will have to put into action what you have learned, and build further your expertise through your practice,” Taton said at the ceremony.

The participation of four court officials on the training course should also lead to better working relations between the police and judiciary, Taton added.

Both police and court officials have long recriminated each oth­er over inadequate work and bribe taking that has led to the release of criminals without convictions.

Christian Guth, an international law enforcement expert and workshop organizer, said course participants now form the basis of a network of Phnom Penh police officers trained to deal specifically with sex crimes against children.

Representatives from each of the city’s seven district police offices, the Cambodian Interpol office, Municipal Immigration Police and Interior Ministry Criminal Police attended the course, which focused on investigation methods, collection and preparation of forensic evidence and interviewing techniques for child victims.

Establishment of the net­work is the first step in developing a national po­lice task force on child trafficking and sexual exploitation, Guth said. (Additional Reporting by Ana Nov)

The network will develop expertise in dealing with sexual exploitation cases by handling actual situations as they occur, Guth said.



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