banlung, Ratanakkiri – Five girls rescued by police from a Banlung town karaoke bar last week have filed a complaint with police against the bar owner, alleging attempted sexual exploitation of a minor and human trafficking.
Two 16-year-old victims accused Dam Ny Karaoke bar owner Dam Ny, who is also a judicial police officer, of attempting to sell their virginity to a foreigner, while three other women accused him of exploitation and human trafficking, according to Pen Bonnar, Ratanakkiri coordinator for local rights group Adhoc.
The five teenage girls, all from Kandal province, were taken from the bar last Friday by anti-human trafficking police. One suspect, Yin Hoeun, 36, has been charged with human trafficking in the case.
Pen Bonnar said Adhoc helped the two 16-year-olds file complaints after they alleged that Dam Ny had told them that they would receive $2,000 each to have sex with a foreigner.
“The victims filed complaints to the court to prosecute Dam Ny and they have also asked for compensation,” he said.
One of the girls, who asked not to be named, said she thought she had been hired by Dam Ny to serve beer.
“I wanted to work as a staff to sell beer to the customers, not to have sex with the customers,” she said, adding that her 16-year-old sister was told by Dam Ny to have sex with a foreigner.
Dam Ny denied that he trafficked the girls or that his karaoke parlor was a brothel.
“I realized that they were young and I wanted them to return home,” he said, adding that the girls owed him money.
Provincial deputy police chief Hor Ang said Wednesday that he had forwarded the case to the court.
“We do not know yet whether [Dam Ny] was involved with human trafficking,” he said adding that the victims were not cooperating with police.
Provincial Prosecutor Mey Sokhorn said Thursday that the court had received the complaint and would investigate the matter.