Siem Reap – On 20 October 2016, a total of nine victims are rescued from sexual abuse be exploitation after one of them came forward to disclose abuse to Siem Reap Anti-Human Trafficking and Juvenile Protection Unit via APLE social work team. The disclosure of all victims confirmed that they had been sexually abused by a 62-year-old Korean who run a church in Chung Kaosu village of Siem Reap's Slor Kram commune. The Korean is being interrogated by the police and further legal action is being proceeded. The police is also identifying further possible victims whom they have believed to have been sexually abused by the Korean.
In February 2015, APLE Cambodia got an initial tip-off from a local informant and started the investigation into the incident and reported it to the police in Siem Reap. With the assistance of child protection organization APLE Cambodia, the police have found nine victims aged 11 – 16 years old and three other vulnerable children. All victims and vulnerable children are supported by some NGOs and stay at a safe place now.
The suspect has lived and worked as pastor at a church in Siem Reap around 2005 or 2006 allowing around 20 girls and family members to live with him and support their livings. According to the victims, the suspect has sexually abused them on multiple occasions and bought some motorbikes for them.
"Institutional abuse is not a new tendency by perpetrator, but it is a lack of full knowledge of sexual abuse and exploitation of the community to come forward and protect their children. As in this case, the Korean uses religious belief which grants him opportunities to abuse and exploit children," said Vando Khoem.