It’s hard to believe we’re more than half way through 2022! As the year moves on, AIM’s SWAT Team has been hard at work, investigating trafficking and other cases, assisting the local police in covert operations and arrests, and rescuing victims of trafficking. Despite setbacks, this team continues to persevere, bringing freedom and justice! In this update, see some different sides of the SWAT Team and how they have been at work this year.
Most of the time, our case reports include details of a specific raid and how the survivor is being cared for in the aftermath. This is because, at AIM, rescue is just the beginning of a survivor finding freedom. Support through the entire healing journey is still necessary for true, lasting freedom to be realized.
We typically mention that our Legal Team will represent survivors throughout the court proceedings. But what does that really mean? Our dedicated team of lawyers and victim advocates walk with survivors to ensure that justice is served. While some cases may take a while to come to fruition, our team stands with survivors and these cases until the end. Here are just a few examples of cases closed in 2022:
- A long-awaited trial brought justice to two suspects from a case in May of 2018! Both were found guilty and sentenced to 5 years in prison.
- In August of 2020, a suspect was arrested for trafficking 5 minors during a covert operation. He was recently found guilty and sentenced to 7 years in prison.
- A female trafficker was arrested by local police, with the support of AIM SWAT, on June 21, 2021 while in the process of trafficking 4 minors. She has been sentenced to 9 years in prison.
- In November of 2021, a suspect was arrested and charged with child sex trafficking offenses in Siem Reap. They were sentenced to 7 years in prison.
- A trafficker and restaurant manager were arrested on December 2, 2021 for working together to traffic 4 minors in Kampot, Cambodia. Both parties were found guilty – the trafficker has been sentenced to 7 years, while the restaurant manager was sentenced to 2 and a half years in prison.
- In January of this year, a suspect was detained while in the process of trafficking 3 girls. He was recently found guilty and sentenced to 7 years in prison.
- Also earlier this year, 4 minors were rescued from a brothel in Siem Reap. The trafficker was found guilty and sentenced to 7 years in prison and ordered to pay a fine.
We are grateful for the work of our Legal Team and the closure these victories bring to survivors.
On June 8th, AIM SWAT assisted local police in the arrest of a female on suspicion of trafficking a family member. The survivor, a minor, contacted police after being sold by the family member over the course of a few years. The police, in turn, contacted AIM SWAT to help investigate the situation.
Once involved in the investigation, AIM SWAT helped to confirm the location and suspect so an arrest could be made. The suspect has since been charged with child sex trafficking related offenses. She will await trial from prison. The survivor has been taken to AIM’s Restoration Home where she will receive care and support through her healing journey! As you may have guessed, our Legal Team will represent her in all upcoming court proceedings.
AIM SWAT assisted police in Siem Reap with the raid of a KTV (karaoke bar) and restaurant on June 14th. This operation resulted in the arrest of one suspect and the rescue of 8 survivors – 2 minors and 6 adults! Surveillance of the location confirmed that the women and girls were being sold to customers for sex in rooms available at the KTV. The business has been completely shut down by police and AIM SWAT!
The 2 minors have been taken to AIM’s Restoration Home, while the adults have been assisted by the local social affairs office. AIM social workers will provide extra assistance if needed. As always, our Legal Team will represent all survivors in upcoming court proceedings.
A massage parlor was shut down by AIM SWAT and local police after covert surveillance confirmed that minors were being sold for sex at the location. On June 29th, AIM SWAT and police raided the brothel/massage parlor in central Phnom Penh.
During the raid, 3 females were rescued – one confirmed to be a minor. 2 suspects were detained, and, after interviews with the survivors confirming the crimes, they were charged with child sex trafficking-related offenses.
The minor girl has been transferred to AIM’s Restoration Home to receive care and healing, while the other survivors will be cared for by a partner aftercare center through their healing journey.
Case Update (as of September 2023): AIM’s Legal Team represented all three survivors throughout the duration of their court case. In the end, offenders were found guilty and sentenced to 5 years of imprisonment!
Additional work from aim swat
While AIM’s SWAT Team is typically called in to assist in sex trafficking cases, the collective knowledge and expertise of the team is also valuable in helping the local police with other cases of exploitation and sexual abuse. Recently, our team has been able to work with police to investigate and arrest suspects in multiple cases outside of a usual trafficking case.
In May of this year, SWAT was able to assist in the arrest of a Chinese man on suspicion of abusing a young girl. The girl’s mother filed a complaint with the police after noticing signs of sexual assault. Further investigation revealed video evidence of the situation, confirming the mother’s suspicions. The suspect has been charged and will await trial from prison. The young girl is now safe from harm and our aftercare team will continue to provide support through her healing journey. In addition, our Legal Team will represent both the girl and her mother in court.
After months of investigation, AIM SWAT assisted police in arresting an adult female in March of this year and an adult male on June 10th. The two are being charged with pornography distribution after they offered a young woman a loan in return for compromising photos of herself. Once the woman paid off the initial loan, the suspects continued to extort payment from her, threatening to make the photos public. At that point, the woman went to the police, who brought in AIM SWAT to help track down the suspects. The suspects will now await trial from prison. Our aftercare team is providing support to the survivor and her family, while our Legal Team will continue to represent her throughout trial.
AIM SWAT is assisting local police in locating and caring for 18 survivors of sexual abuse and exploitation. In this unique case, police in Siem Reap arrested a man who was posing as a witch doctor in the area. Upon search and seizure of his phone, they found forced pornographic content containing 18 different individuals.
With the help of AIM SWAT, local police have located 3 of the individuals from the suspect’s phone, one of which was a minor girl. This girl has been transferred to AIM’s Restoration Home where she will receive support through her healing process. AIM’s social work team will continue to follow up with the other 2 individuals identified so far. AIM SWAT will continue to work with the police in identifying the other 15 individuals. In doing so, our team hopes to provide any care that is needed and, of course, justice for all those who have been harmed.
The suspect has been arrested and will await trial from prison.
We are praising God for the safety of all of those rescued and supported by AIM SWAT Team. Please join us in prayer for their continued healing, as well as the success of AIM’s Legal Team in upcoming trials.
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RESCUES MADE POSSIBLE BY…
Thanks to our incredible partners at Operation Underground Railroad, Life Outreach International, and modern-day abolitionists like YOU, we get to rescue these children from the unimaginable. Together we fight against the world’s greatest evil, doing whatever it takes to defeat it.