Police have rescued 19 young girls, all under 18 years old, from a Russei Keo district brothel after complaints from a Vietnamese woman that she had been illegally trafficked, an official from the anti-trafficking department of the Ministry of the Interior said.
Officers went to the brothel, No 18, after Ngveng Thei Thav, 18, told them a countryman had lured her to Cambodia from Vietnam with promises of a job, only to sell her to the brothel for $500, Anti-Trafficking Deputy Director Touch Ngem said.
The officers in the raid represented a joint committee of the land authority, a prosecuting judge and the ministry, Touch Ngem said. Officials sent 14 girls to the Cambodian Women’s Crisis Center for education and training for a new job. Two were handed over to their parents, Touch Ngem said. Three of the girls’ parents came to Phnom Penh to retrieve their children, he added. The brothel’s owner, who could face human trafficking charges, remained at large, but police consider the raid a victory, Touch Ngem said.
“We rescued the girls from the brothel, but some of the other girls escaped with the brothel owner, so we could not arrest the owner at the scene,” Touch Ngem said. “We are sorry about that, but we are still looking for her.”