The site of last year’s largest anti-trafficking bust is once again open for business.
World One Massage Parlor reopened earlier this month after a six-month closure prompted by a 2005 police raid. The parlor is now offering “best quality, good service” massages and saunas at a 20-percent discount, according to an advertisement in the Rasmei Kampuchea Daily newspaper last week.
World One seemed to be doing good business Monday afternoon. A sidewalk near the front door was crowded with parked motorbikes. Three gleaming, unlicensed Landcruisers stood at the curb.
An elderly woman sat at the front desk, near a guest register and a cabinet displaying bottles of liquor. Young women came and went through the dimly lit waiting room, wearing skimpy tops, short skirts and high heels.
World One Massage Parlor gained infamy on June 28 when municipal anti-trafficking police raided the establishment, removing 88 women and making several arrests.
Three employees were sent to prison for debauchery, but were released in January when, according to Prey Sar prison director Hak Vat, charges against the three were dropped. He said he did not know why the charges were dropped.
World One owner Sok Leng was also charged with debauchery and running a brothel, but has been missing since June; it is unknown whether charges against him were also dropped. Police and court officials declined to comment on the charges being dropped when contacted in January. Former Phnom Penh Police Commissioner Heng Pov said at the time of the raid last year that he had evidence that the parlor was a front for prostitution.
On Monday, a middle-aged woman dressed in white, who would not give her name or job title at World One, denied the establishment had ever been a place of debauchery.
“We sell Khmer massage for health,” she said, adding that Sok Leng was out and she didn’t know when he would return.