Man Arrested For Abuse of 13-Year-Old

A 60-year-old US national was arrested on August 28 for sexually abusing a 13-year-old girl near Wat Phnom, police said August 29.

Municipal anti-human trafficking and juvenile protection police chief Urm Rathana said his officers could not disclose too many details about the case, as an investigation was still underway into a number of other foreigners who had also abused the girl.

“[The man] did not confess,” Urm Rathana said. “But the victim has made the complaint already,” he said.

Daun Penh district Deputy Police Chief Em Saroeun confirmed that the arrest was made, but he would not comment further.

Anti pedophile NGO Action Pour Les Enfants Country Director Seila Samleang said Friday that the 13-year-old at the center of the case had been working as a child prostitute in the tourist area and had been abused by a number of Cambodian and foreign nationals.

He said police had arrested the US man while he sexually abused the young girl in an alleyway near the main post office and that at least four other foreigners were being investigated for having abused the young girl.

“He was committing the act in the darkness,” Samleang Seila said. APLE has already submitted details on the other foreign suspects to the police, he said.

According to Samleang Seila, there has been an increase in the activities of foreign pedophiles nationwide in Cambodia, but he could not say if this was linked to the new anti-trafficking law, which hands out lighter sentences to people convicted of abusing children, compared to the older law.

“The lighter the punishment is in general, the less the criminals are afraid,” he added.

As of Friday, six foreign pedo­philes had been arrested so far this year in Cambodia compared to 10 for the whole of 2007.

Arrests of foreign pedophiles have also increased in the beach resort of Sihanoukville, where several cases are currently before the town’s court, which has received criticism over it light handling of child sex abusers.


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