A 16-year-old was among six girls and women rescued during a raid on a brothel in Pursat City on Tuesday night that also resulted in the arrest of its manager, police and NGO officials said on Wednesday.
Eric Meldrum, investigations director for the AIM SWAT team at Agape International Missions, an anti-sex trafficking NGO, said the brothel had been operating out of a “rough” stone house for about a year.
Mr. Meldrum said his organization began investigating the property with police about two months ago, when one of the girls, who said she was 17 years old, contacted another NGO to say that she was being forced to have sex with customers.
“One of the girls who was working there made a phone call to an NGO and was asking for help because she was being forced to work at this brothel,” he said.
After anti-trafficking police from Phnom Penh carried out the raid on the establishment at about 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Mr. Meldrum said, his team confirmed that one of the six girls and women working inside was only 16. He said it was unclear whether all six had been forced to have sex with customers.
“They are all going to say what they have been fed to say,” he said. “Only one of them has admitted she is 16—she started off by saying she was 19 or 20 like the rest of them. Of the other five, at least another two are under 18.”
Mr. Meldrum said there was a specific reason why Phnom Penh police conducted the raid, but that he could not divulge it.
However, Pol Chamroeun, chief of the Pursat provincial police’s anti-human trafficking bureau, said his officers led the operation on the house in Banteay Dei commune and arrested the brothel’s manager, a 45-year-old woman named Kim Dany.
He said she was questioned at the provincial police headquarters and would be sent to the provincial court today, adding that police also collected used condoms and records of client visits as evidence.