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22 Boys Rescued from Sexual Exploitation; Abuser Sentenced to 5 Year Imprisonment

Siem Reap: On 25th of April, 2018, the Siem Reap provincial court pronounced a verdict finding Dutchman Sarot Evrard Nicolas, aged 54, guilty of producing child pornography under the Article 41 of the Law on Suppression of Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation, and sentenced him to 5 years of imprisonment. The court also ordered him to pay a total compensation of 44 million Riels (approx. USD 11,000) to the civil plaintiffs.

In April of 2017, police officers from the Siem Reap Anti-Human Trafficking and Juvenile Protection Unit arrested Sarot Evrard Nicolas while he was photographing naked boys by the lakeside in Aranh Sarkor village, Sangkat Siem Reap. According to police investigation, the total number of victims reaches 22 boys aged between 8 and 14 years.

During the arrest, police found and seized a digital camera and an iPad from the suspect. The preliminary search by police discovered numerous sexually explicit pictures of boys, which confirmed the crime.

The case was opened in 2016, when APLE Cambodia received a report of the alleged abuse and helped the police to investigate the crime and identify the victims. According to police investigations, the suspect often lured boys into a quiet place and asked them to perform erotic poses for a price between $1 to $4. APLE alerted the Anti Human Trafficking and Juvenile Protection (AHTJP) police in Siem Reap and assisted with their investigation; however, the suspect was not located.

In April 2017, the same man who initially reported the case to APLE, called our agents again, informing that the Dutchman had re-appeared at the community. Following APLE and the National Police’s immediate action, the suspect was arrested and formally charged by the Siem Reap provincial court with production of child pornography.

 The families and the victims decided to pursue the court case, and APLE offered them free of charge legal aid. APLE’s court support social team, after providing crisis support to the victims, coordinated other services from the partner organisations Hagar and First Step Cambodia (FSC) for the boys and families.

To educate and assist the families during their legal proceedings and the rehabilitation of their children, APLE conducted two training sessions in the community on detecting signs of sexual abuse and exploitation and its protective care, as well as how to support victims of sexual abuse and exploitation. In addition, APLE’s court support team also organised one child group activity for 22 child victims, where Kosal participated and learned how to cope with stress and manage difficult emotions.

According to APLE’s recorded data in 2017, 72.58% of boys were the victims of sexual abuse and trafficking while 27.42% were girls. In the first quarter of 2018, 87.5% of boys were victims of this act while only 12.5% were girls. This has clearly indicated that both boys and girls can be victims of sexual abuse. Therefore, the two require equal protection.