An ethnic Vietnamese woman and a Banteay Meanchey province man were arrested in Poipet and charged with human trafficking and smuggling last week for allegedly selling a 15-year-old girl to another man who forced her to work as a prostitute, court officials said Tuesday.
Banteay Meanchey provincial prosecutor Nhuong Thol said he jailed the suspects for six months while they await trial.
Chuon Vat, chairwoman of the Police Repression of Human Trafficking Department in Banteay Meanchey, said the accused woman, Chan Thy, 40, owns a massage parlor and coffee shop that was managed by the second suspect, Chov So Phat, 44.
The victim’s mother owed the suspects money and sold her daughter to them for about $295, Nhuong Thol said.
But the girl went to the police for help, and is now being cared for by employees of the Cambodia Women’s Crisis Center, Chuon Vat said.
A three-day seminar began Tuesday, organized by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia in collaboration with the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, to discuss solutions to regional trafficking problems.
Government officials say that battling the increase in the trafficking of women and children is a priority, and it is working closely with Malaysia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam on the problem.
The ministries of Women’s and Veteran’s Affairs, Interior, Justice and Information have undertaken a number of initiatives they hope will help stop human trafficking.
One such initiative is a large-scale campaign designed to educate women and children about trafficking so they can better protect themselves from predators.
“The government is doing its best to prevent human trafficking, but I am unsure how much law enforcement is being practiced by officials,” said Im Sophea, head of the human rights group Adhoc in Banteay Meanchey.