Sihanoukville, Cambodia – the Sihanouk Provincial Court yesterday sentenced French national Philippe Broaly, director of NGO working with children, to 14 months imprisonment (serving only 8 months and 15 days in prison and suspending 5 months and 15 days) on charge of indecent assault against five boys. The judge also ordered him to pay 22 million riel compensation to the three civil plaintiffs and 6 million riel fine.

Child protection organization APLE received report of the suspected abuse and helped the police investigate the claims. He was arrested on 14 October 2014 and detained in Sihanoukville prison after the investigation done by the Anti-Human Trafficking and Juvenile Protection Unit of the Cambodian National Police. At that time, APLE Cambodia provided immediate support to the victims and was coordinating with a partner NGO who could deliver its long-term support.

Institution-based child sexual exploitation occurs when an offender uses an institution meant to benefit children to access, groom, and/or abuse children. It typically takes place in schools, orphanages and/or shelters and is a serious problem in Cambodia. APLE has investigated almost 100 cases of institution-based exploitation. Inadequate regulations and the absence of child protection mechanisms within these institutions provide an opportunity for potential abusers to access, abuse, and exploit vulnerable children. Furthermore, widespread poverty leaves families and communities throughout Cambodia susceptible to grooming techniques, which could lead to a great level of dependency on the offender and create a culture of silence surrounding abuse.

APLE Executive Director, Mr. Seila Samleang, said after the verdict pronouncement:

“We are not satisfied with the judgment. The punishment is too lenient, while the young victims are deeply traumatized after many years of severe abuse. In addition, the court should have banned him from living in Cambodia since he will likely pose risk to more children in his community or children involved with his NGO program.

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