Who We Are
A community with robust social and legal justice in which all children are safe from child sexual abuse and exploitation
In 2003, Action Pour Les Enfants [APLE] was established in Phnom Penh, Cambodia as an international NGO. Initially, APLE assisted the police with investigations into street-based child sexual abuse and exploitation and provided pro-bono legal support to victims and their families. As APLE gained more knowledge and expertise in combatting child sexual abuse, its operations expanded.
To strengthen national social and legal mechanisms for the protection of children at risk of, or affected by, child sexual abuse or exploitation
In 2005, APLE opened an office in the coastal town of Sihanoukville, due to an increase of suspected child sexual abuse in the area, often committed by travelling sex offenders. In the same year, APLE began offering social support to those affected by child sexual abuse and exploitation after detecting a lack of integral services in Cambodia. The social program was very well received and, to this day, is carried out in collaboration with partner NGOs, such as M’Lop Tapang in Sihanoukville.
Between 2003 and 2007, tourism in Cambodia increased nearly 300% with the majority of the tourists flocking to Siem Reap. In 2007, due to concerns about the increased flow of foreign nationals, poverty, minimal education, and vulnerable children, APLE opened a third office in Siem Reap. Each of APLE’s teams has become a critical and effective mechanism in the fight to end child sexual abuse and exploitation.
In 2009, the National Committee for Counter Trafficking elected APLE to co-chair the Law Enforcement Working Group. This working group is a joint initiative between government and civil society organisations tasked to monitor and report on changes in types of crimes, modus operandi of offenders, and factors that facilitate trafficking or sexual abuse and exploitation.
From 2013 to 2014, APLE undertook a significant organisational restructure to ensure maximum efficiency in its operations. In 2013, APLE centralised its activities and reallocated the majority of its staff to Phnom Penh. The majority of staff now in the provincial offices are investigators. In 2014, APLE updated and reorganised its activities into a child protection portfolio consisting of four core programs and nine projects, again with the aim of increasing APLE’s organisational and operational efficiency. In addition, APLE registered as a local NGO in 2014 to better reflect the true Cambodian character.
In 2013, APLE conducted an assessment on three provinces in Cambodia to determine child sexual abuse risk factors and identify gaps in services that APLE could fill. Based on this research and funding from a new donor, APLE opened an office in Battambang in April 2014. The one-year pilot project re-affirmed the need for APLE’s expertise to complement existing services. However, because of the new strategic plan, APLE decided to close its office in the province in 2015.