Man Charged with Pornography and Child Sexual Abuse Material on the Web

On 12th February 2022, the Phnom Penh Municipal Court charged a 19-year-old Cambodian online-seller man from Battambang with distribution of adult pornography on Article 39 and distribution of child pornography on Article 41 of the Law on Suppression of Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation. The court remanded him in pre-trial detention. 

In February 2022, the man was arrested by the Ministry of Interior’s Anti-Human Trafficking and Juvenile Protection Department on suspicion of distributing and selling pornographic material over his social media accounts, including images depicting children in explicit sexual activity. According to the police, the man created multiple social media groups on a popular cloud-based instant messaging Telegram through which he distributed and sold a sizeable amount of illicit pornographic photos and videos. Police found that the man stored images on his phone, computer and cloud.  

The case was first brought to APLE’s attention by a member of the public who came across suspected child sexual abuse material on the web and reported its URLs to the APLE’s internet hotline, the digital platform for public reporting of CSAM that is linked with INHOPE, law enforcement and internet service providers around the globe. The content was assessed to be illegal by the hotline analysts, and a formal report and notice and takedown requests were sent to the police for action and to the hosting providers for removal. As a result, all the reported contents were removed and the case was investigated by the police unit responsible for crimes against children.

In 2021, APLE saw a sharp increase of online child sexual exploitation cases by over 100% compared with 2020. Most of the cases involved distribution of child sexual abuse materials on the internet, also known as child pornography. Other cases included child grooming for sexual purposes, sextortion, live-streaming of child sexual exploitation.  INHOPE data 2020 showed that 93% of images assessed by INHOPE hotlines depicted girls, and 77% of the children depicted in those images were under 13 years old.  

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