A 22-year-old man appeared in Battambang provincial court Friday, accused of raping a 12-year-old girl asleep in her bed, police said Sunday.
Sum Vannak, a farm worker from Kompong Chhnang province, was arrested Sept 28 in Samlot district’s Tasanh commune.
He was staying in the family’s home as a guest, said Seng Son, chief of the provincial police Anti-trafficking and Juvenile Protection Against Exploitation office. “He’d just stayed at the victim’s house for 18 days, and he raped the daughter of the people who allowed him to stay in their home,” Seng Son said.
Police said Sum Vannak confessed that he approached the victim, who was sleeping in a mosquito net with her younger siblings, aged one and four years, and asked to share the net. Police added that the siblings were too young to help prevent the attack.
Sum Vannak “claimed that he raped the girl because of love,” Seng Son said. “He never had conflict with either the victim or her parents.”
The victim’s parents rarely left their children to sleep alone, but their work had been busy, so that night they stayed at the farm, police said. Sum Vannak, who has a wife and two children in Kompong Chhnang province, is being held in provincial prison awaiting trial.
Seng Son said the number of local rapes is increasing daily. When his office opened its door last year, he had 17 rape cases. In the first ten months of this year, 45 rape cases and two cases of human smuggling have been reported to his office.
Poverty and lack of education are forcing parents to leave home for work in other provinces or countries, leaving children vulnerable, he explained.