Two Found Guilty of Sex Trafficking Deaf Girl

Two people were found guilty of trafficking a 13-year-old deaf and mute girl into a brothel and handed 15-year jail sentences at Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Thursday.

Em Sophea, 44, and Lonh Chan, 28, were both sentenced to a decade and a half in prison for selling the girl to a brothel in Phnom Penh’s Chamkar Mon district, where she claims she was forced to have sex with multiple men in June 2013 before managing to escape.

The two were each ordered to pay 4 million riel, about $1,000, to the victim.

They were arrested in July 2013 after police received a complaint from Sok Phalla, executive director of the NGO New Hope for Cambodian Children, who had provided shelter for the girl, who was HIV-positive, after her parents died of AIDS.

The girl had gone missing while visiting a friend in Phnom Penh.

Ms. Sophea, who claimed in February that she was gambling at NagaWorld casino at the time of the crime, maintained her innocence after the verdict was handed down on Thursday.

“How many years am I jailed?” she asked. “Why don’t you sentence me to 50 or 60 years because I am not wrong.”

Ms. Sophea’s lawyer, Muth Piseth, said she would appeal the conviction.

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