Court Charges Frenchman With ‘Prostitution’

Phnom Penh Municipal Court charged Frenchman Zerinini Hassen, who operated Le Cyrcee Club, with “prostitution” Thurs­day, court officials said.

“He received the benefit of prostitution, so I charged him with prostitution,” Deputy Prose­cutor Nget Sarath said.

Police arrested the suspect  Tuesday night after two female former employees alleged that Hassen forced them to have sex with clients against their will.

After Hassen fired the women a few weeks ago, allegedly be­cause they refused to have sex with a client, the women complained to the anti-trafficking NGO Afesip, said Aarti Kapoor, legal adviser for Afesip.

Hassen was charged under Article 4 and Article 5 of the anti-trafficking law, which pertain to pimping and provide for a five-to 10-year jail sentence, Nget Sarath said. Court officials plan to question the other 13 women em­ployed by Hassen at Le Cyrcee.

Most of the women working at Le Cyrcee had sex with foreigners at the club and shared about half of their payments with Hassen, Nget Sarath said.

The court plans to decide today whether to keep Hassen detained or to release him on bail, municipal court Investigating Judge Nop Sophon said Thursday.

“It would be difficult if we release him,” Nop Sophon said. “Maybe we will temporarily detain him for further investigation to find out [if we can prove the charge].”

French Embassy officials are also investigating the case, Kapoor said.


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