Reports of Child Rape & Trafficking Increasing in Cambodia
Author: Womens UN Report Network
Date: June 1, 2004
of Child Rape & Trafficking Increasing in Cambodia
Rem is a 15-year-old girl abducted by a 30-year-old man
who detained and
raped her repeatedly over three months. When her parents located her, the
perpetrator (in the presence of the police) forced them to sign a statement
absolving him of any wrongdoing in exchange for their daughter’s freedom.
The parents signed the statement, but later filed a court case against him.
The case was later dismissed for lack of evidence. The perpetrator, after a
month in jail, was released and has now returned to his home. Rem, on the
other hand, has tried to commit suicide three times and had to be placed in
an NGO shelter for special care.
Rem and Top are just two of the many children who are sexually abused or
trafficked each day in Cambodia,
and who are left to face long and difficult
recoveries from their ordeals. “Cambodia faces
a crisis of trafficking and sex crimes which is destroying
the lives of its children,” said Kek Galabru, president of LICADHO, speaking
on the occasion of International Children’s Day, June 1. “Reported cases
continue to increase and, most worryingly, the victims seem to be getting
younger and younger.”
Based on cases reported to LICADHO’s Child Rights Office, rape is the
biggest threat to Cambodian children. Child rape accounted for 60% of cases
reported to the office in 1999 and 2000, 62% in 2001, and 69% in both 2002
and 2003. Child victims compromise the majority of all rape and indecent
assault cases investigated by LICADHO, with 87% of victims in 2002 and 77%
in 2003 aged under 18 years. More than 40% of victims in 2002 and 2003
were aged 12 or younger.
Trafficking of children – which occurs in Cambodia for
the purposes of
sexual exploitation, forced labor or adoption – is another major threat to
the Kingdom’s youth. Child trafficking comprised 6% of cases investigated by
LICADHO’s Child Rights Office in 2002 and 7% in 2003. Child trafficking
victims are also among the increasing number of children reported injured or killed
by human rights abuses in 2002 and 2003 (9% and 20% respectively).
“Unfortunately, many perpetrators of child rape or trafficking are not
arrested and properly prosecuted,” said Kek Galabru. “The victims are left
to cope with the immense physical and psychological consequences of the
abuse, while their abusers live freely.”
According to LICADHO research, only 71 of 179 rape and indecent assaults
cases investigated by the NGO in 2002 have so far been prosecuted and gone
to trial, leading to 63 convictions and eight acquittals. However, of the 63
convictions, perpetrators in 11 cases were convicted in absentia and have
not been arrested. In two gang rape cases, only one among several
perpetrators is in prison.
LICADHO will mark International Children’s Day with activities in 13
provinces which will include panel discussions, quiz shows, games, and
lotteries for prizes such as bicycles and school bags. The activities will
focus on the problems of child rape and trafficking, as part of an ongoing LICADHO campaign to draw public and government attention to the need for urgent
action to end these assaults on children’s bodies and minds.
From LICADO in Cambodia –
Media Statement on the Occasion of
International Children’s Day;June 1, 2004
For further information:
Ms. Naly Pilorge, Director of LICADHO, 012 803-650
Mr. Ngeng Teng, Children’s Rights Coordinator of LICADHO, 012 813-101