Phnom Penh – The impending release of child sex offender and NGO director Philippe Broaly has caused outrage among seventeen child protection NGOs. Last month, Broaly, a French national, was convicted for sexual crimes against five boys over an extended period. However, he was only sentenced to 14 months imprisonment, 5.5 months of which were suspended. As a result of the lenient sentence and the absence of a deportation order, Broaly will regain his freedom in Cambodia at the end of this month.
In a last resort to stop Broaly from being able to sexually abuse more Cambodian children, seventeen child protection NGOs have filed a petition to the prosecutor in the case to appeal the verdict from the court. They state that Broaly has denied all wrongdoing despite a wealth of evidence to the contrary; this indicates that he has no remorse about the crimes he committed and little care for the suffering of his victims. Cambodia also does not yet have a system for monitoring previously convicted pedophiles to ensure they do not abuse children again. Based on research and APLE’s experience, this makes the likelihood of rehabilitation and, therefore an end to the offending behavior, minimal. The risk of further sexual offending behavior therefore remains unacceptably high.
Institution-based exploitation cases, which APLE has seen a significant increase in, occurs when an individual uses an institution intended to benefit children (e.g. school, NGO, orphanage) to gain access to, groom, and/or sexually exploit children. From 2009 until now, APLE has assisted in 17 arrests of individuals linked to child-focused institutions. Eleven of them were convicted, four released, and two cases are still pending.
Interestingly, 57 of the 68 vulnerable children APLE supported in 2014 came from only 5 cases – which means each suspect, in addition to the children he/she abused, had close contact with approximately 11 more children. Child sex offenders pose a risk not only to the children they have already victimised, but also to those in the community whom the offender may attempt to abuse in the future. The capacity in Cambodia to monitor convicted sex offenders is non-existent; deportation of foreign offenders is the best option for eliminating the risk of recidivism and protecting children.
This joint press statement and the petition are supported by:
- Action Pour Les Enfants (APLE)
- Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights (Licadho)
- Cambodian National Research Organization (CNRO)
- Cambodia ACTs
- Cambodian Women’s Crisis Center (CWCC)
- Centro Cooperazione Sviluppo Onlus (CCS)
- Chab Dai Coalition (CDC)
- Child Helpline Cambodia (CHC)
- First Step Cambodia (FSC)
- International Justice Mission (IJM)
- Khmer Women’s Cooperation for Development (KWCD)
- Let Us Create (LUS)
- Licadho Canada (LC)
- M’lop Tapang (MT)
- Operations Enfants du Cambodge (OEC)
- Pour un Sourire d’Enfant (PSE)
- World Hope International (WHI)