Four Minors Freed From Phnom Penh Brothel; Couple Detained

The Interior Ministry’s anti-trafficking police have detained a man and woman for questioning after a Monday night raid on a Phnom Penh massage parlor that doubled as a brothel.

Eight women were being prostituted at the 999 massage house along Street 271 in Chamkar Mon district, according to Tuol Tumpoung II commune police chief Ing Dara, who joined the raid.

The National Police website identified the suspects operating the establishment as Toch Bros, 52, and Yung Thuon, 36.

Eric Meldrum, director of investigations at Agape International Missions (AIM), which assisted police in the investigation and raid, said that nine women were located at the brothel, four of them minors.

“They all have very different stories and we are still working with them to establish their exact situations,” he said. “Some owed money to the people who own the place.”

Mr. Meldrum said the women would be free to go following questioning, while the girls would be placed in social care, where staff will attempt to locate their families.

The covert brothel, he said, was on a strip of Street 271 that is home to a number of massage parlors.

“This is the third one in the past year where we have found minors,” he said. “The majority of the rest, we believe don’t have minors.”

Last month, AIM reported that its investigators had identified 15 establishments across the country selling children for sex, and that it was waiting for prosecutors to give police permission to go in.

On Friday, Mr. Meldrum said AIM had conducted the first of those raids the week earlier, freeing two girls aged 12 and 16.

“They are going to get all those girls out,” he said Friday. “But each job is an operation and you can only work with the police you can work with.”

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