A 23-year-old sex worker was hospitalized in Ratanakkiri province after being attacked by her brothel owner for trying to leave the flesh trade, police and a human rights worker said.
In a complaint filed with police Tuesday, Samley Srey Mom ac-cused her pimp Chhorm Vannak, 43, his wife, brother-in-law, and three other prostitutes of taking part in the assault Monday evening in Banlung town.
Samley Srey Mom said from the provincial hospital that she was injured when the group dragged her out of her boyfriend’s bed by her hair and then assaulted her while trying to force her onto a motorbike to return her to the bro-thel in Labanseak commune.
“I told them I wanted to go back home but they refused to let me leave,” she said.
“I filed a complaint against the brothel owners for assaulting me.”
Chan Heang, chief of Ratanakkiri provincial anti-human trafficking police department, said he was investigating, but he described the incident as minor.
“She accused the pimps of injuring her but I was informed that she was just pulled by her head back to the brothel and she fell off her motorbike,” Chan Heang said.
Nuon Mol, chief of Labanseak commune police post, said running a brothel alone is against the law. “Our officers are discussing whether to ask the court for a warrant to close these brothels,” he said.
But contacted by telephone, confessed pimp Chhorm Vannak maintained that Samley Srey Mom was better off at his sex den.
“I am the brothel owner and I have to take care of her,” he said. “We did not beat her. We just called her and pulled her back home,” he added.
Pen Bonnar, Adhoc provincial coordinator, said the police had more than enough evidence to ar-rest Chhorm Vannak and his colleagues operating the brothel.
“Local authorities and police always provide protection to brothels and take money from those pimps and don’t bother helping victims,” he said.