Human rights organization Licadho on Wednesday called for the government to make public the findings of a police investigation that prompted a Dec 7 raid on the Chai Hour II Hotel and the subsequent removal of 83 women and girls to an NGO women’s shelter.
Licadho also requested that the government explain why seven suspects were released only hours after the hotel raid, even though high-ranking police officials were apparently informed of the hotel’s alleged criminal activities.
“There is definitely information leading to say that pimping and debauchery were occurring at the hotel,” Licadho Director Naly Pilorge said.
The women and girls were delivered to Afesip’s women’s shelter following the raid but left the shelter Dec 8 after a group of about 30 people attacked the gate.
One witness has said that following the attack, some of the women were ushered into a vehicle with military license plates.
Pilorge criticized the government for failing to provide better security for the women’s shelter.
The Chai Hour II Hotel, which is licensed by the government and remains open for business, says the 83 women and girls are back at work, although it denies they are sex workers. A court complaint has been filed against Afesip on behalf of the 83 for illegal detention and defamation.
Pilorge said she was “very much concerned” about the safety of the 83 females and of eight other females not employed by the hotel who also left the shelter during the attack and whose whereabouts are unknown.
The US is considering downgrading Cambodia on its global human trafficking watchdog list due to its handling of the Afesip raid, which could entail sanctions.
Interior Ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak said last week that authorities “will do anything” to resolve the case.