Victims of rape in Cambodia are getting younger, according to a report released yesterday by a coalition of 39 child protection groups. The report shows that in 2010, nearly three-quarters of all reported rape victims were children under 18 years of age.
The Database Report on Sexual Trafficking and Exploitation and Rape in Cambodia, issued and compiled by the group End Child Prostitution, Abuse and Trafficking, said that the number of rape victims under 18 rose from 384 in 2009 to 414 in 2010.
“The age of victims has been falling over time,” the report said, noting that the average age of child victims of rape in Cambodia is 12.
“This fall in age is alarming,” Ecpat said.
The total number of rape victims decreased slightly from 541 in 2009 to 539 last year, according to the report. However, the national police reported an increase of rapes in 2010, putting the number of rapes at 321, up 30 percent from 2009 figures.
Ten Borany, deputy director of the Interior Ministry’s anti-human trafficking department, said that the coalition’s results were wrong.
“They could not be used or compared with government statistics,” Mr Borany said.
The coalition’s report claims that in 2010, there were 39 cases of sex- trafficking victims, down from 85 victims last year. “However, participating networks of NGOs do not think this reduction in cases means that sexual trafficking is on the decline,” the report said.
So Hoeun, national project officer at the UN Inter-Agency Project on Human Trafficking, said that from his personal point of view, the statistics did not reflect the reality of the situation.
“Only some NGOs contribute to this kind of reporting,” Mr Hoeun said, noting that victims also underreported the crime. More than 100 NGOs work on anti-human trafficking in Cambodia, he said.
Chin Chanveasna, executive director of Ecpat, said that the 39 victims were a fraction of the true number, because some NGOs did not participate in data collection.