High-Level Workshop Deemed a Success

Phnom Penh, Cambodia – On February 26-27th, APLE Cambodia and the National Committee for Counter Trafficking hosted a workshop on ‘The Elimination of the Sexual Exploitation of Children and Deportation’. The workshop was a success, with attention being drawn to the current legal situation relevant to deportation of convicted foreign child sex offenders and the surrounding issues.

According to APLE’s February 2015 report, less than one-third of convicted foreign child sex offenders are deported from Cambodia; however, more than 50% will reoffend if not given treatment. APLE, a child protection organization, finds this highly concerning. While most child sex offenders are Khmer, mandatory deportation of any foreigner would be a strong deterrent effect to travelling sex offenders and contribute to healing and recovery from trauma for victims.

Many participants at the workshop expressed their support of deportation of such offenders, emphasising that this will help victims heal and protect other children from potential harm. Police in particular advocated on behalf of the victims, stating that often the second case against an offender is much harder to find evidence so it would be beneficial to deport them immediately after completing their sentence and prevent re-offending of any more children in Cambodia.

The workshop brought together presentations from international law enforcement, Cambodian government officials, and NGOs, who all expressed their interest in exploring the possibility of mandatory deportation further. In addition, discussion sessions allowed for the sharing of experiences and ideas from all stakeholders. APLE is pleased with the result of the workshop and looks forward to pursuing mandatory deportation.

Samleang Seila, Executive Director of APLE, stated, “this workshop was a great success. We’ve engaged a wide range of stakeholders to discuss a sensitive topic. It was particularly reassuring to see police stood up to advocate on behalf of the child victims. In the end, we have left a clear message that the nation simply needs to do more to protect the most vulnerable children and the automatic deportation must be considered in child exploitation cases. Next, we will present the key messages to the government and keep this dialogue going on. We will help the government to realise this important step to protect children in any way we can.”

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