Embattled Orphanage Director Breaks Silence

In a brief interview Monday, the director of the Asian Orphans Association said the children in his orphanage come from hospitals and from mothers who have died of AIDS.

AOA Director Puth Serey said he was very interested in speaking to the media in the future, given the recent controversy centered around his orphanage.

The AOA came under fire last week when four people were arrested on suspicion of child trafficking in Tuol Kok district.

According to the human rights group Licadho, district police made the arrests after a woman, Deonj Cheap, said she gave her two children to an organization for medical testing, but the organization refused to return the children. Instead, they gave her $150, human rights groups said.

Though Deonj Cheap did not know the name of this organization, the four people arrested Sept 3 for keeping her children were working for the AOA. They were released a day later.

In addition to the arrests, 12 children were taken by police dur­ing the raid. The children re­main in a safehouse overseen by humanitarian and human rights groups. The AOA claims that the children are rightfully theirs, and the agency is trying to get them back, human rights workers said.

Puth Serey also clarified Mon­day that the official name of his or­phanage is the Asian Orphans As­sociation.


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