In 2003, Action Pour Les Enfants [APLE] was established in Phnom Penh, Cambodia as an international NGO. Initially, APLE assisted the police with investigations into street-based child sexual abuse and exploitation and provided pro-bono legal support to victims and their families. As APLE gained more knowledge and expertise in combatting child sexual abuse, its operations expanded.
In 2005, APLE opened an office in the coastal town of Sihanoukville, due to an increase of suspected child sexual abuse in the area, often committed by travelling sex offenders. In the same year, APLE began offering social support to those affected by child sexual abuse and exploitation after detecting a lack of integral services in Cambodia. The social program was very well received and, to this day, is carried out in collaboration with partner NGOs, such as M’Lop Tapang in Sihanoukville.
In 2007, due to concerns about the increased flow of foreign nationals, poverty, minimal education, and vulnerable children, APLE opened a third office in Siem Reap. Each of APLE’s teams has become a critical and effective mechanism in the fight to end child sexual abuse and exploitation.
In 2009, the National Committee for Counter Trafficking elected APLE to co-chair the Law Enforcement Working Group. This working group is a joint initiative between government and civil society organisations tasked to monitor and report on changes in types of crimes, modus operandi of offenders, and factors that facilitate trafficking or sexual abuse and exploitation.
In 2013, APLE conducted an assessment on three provinces in Cambodia to determine child sexual abuse risk factors and identify gaps in services that APLE could fill.
In 2014, APLE undertook a significant organisational restructure to ensure maximum efficiency in its operations. APLE updated and reorganised its activities into a child protection portfolio consisting of four core programs and nine projects, again with the aim of increasing APLE’s organisational and operational efficiency. In addition, APLE registered as a local NGO in 2014 to better reflect the true Cambodian character.