January 2021 was a busy month for AIM SWAT!
We began the new year with FREEDOM as 23 women and girls were rescued from the horrors of trafficking just this month. 6 suspected traffickers were arrested and await trial from prison, now unable to harm anyone else. Praise God for these survivors who are now finding healing and empowerment!
So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.– John 8:36
Read on to learn more about each of these cases….
As some patrons sipped on lattes or iced coffees in the heat of central Phnom Penh, others were frequenting this “coffee shop” for very different reasons. Fronting as a cafe, the owners were actually running a brothel and selling young girls for sex to their customers. Men purchased and abused these girls just mere feet away from public view in back rooms of the cafe. That is until AIM SWAT and local police successfully raided and shut down the heinous business, rescuing 3 minors and 1 adult!
Covert surveillance confirmed suspicions that young Vietnamese girls were being sold in this establishment. As the raid proceeded, a suspect was arrested and taken to prison. Evidence was collected and police and local authorities were able to shut down the brothel once and for all! The suspect has since been charged with child sex trafficking-related offenses.
The survivors all confirmed for authorities that they were being sold for sex, against their will, to the profit of their trafficker. The minor girls have been escorted to a partner aftercare center where they will receive the care and love they need to heal. The woman was taken to AIM’s Transitional Home in Phnom Penh to stay as long as she needs to feel empowered in her new life of freedom. Our staff and social workers will then assist her in finding safe, sustainable employment so she will never again be trafficked.
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners.– Isaiah 61:1
As technology and social media develop and change, traffickers have updated their tactics. This was the case when AIM SWAT and local police reprehended a woman who was messaging attractive, young girls on Facebook and offering work. She would arrange meetings with these girls and manipulate them into believing that they could earn a lot of money by having sex with rich men in the city.
9 girls, all minors, were rescued as AIM SWAT and local police swooped in to arrest this woman after months of covert surveillance. During interviews, the girls explained to police that received messages from the woman offering them a way to earn money. Then, she would convince them that if they had sex with rich men, they could earn money and no one would ever find out. The woman admitted to the accusations and revealed that her core motive was to make money by trafficking these young girls. She was taken into custody to await trial from prison.
The survivors have been taken to a partner aftercare center and will receive all they need to heal and move forward from this horrific event. AIM’s legal team will represent them in all future court proceedings.
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”– Luke 4:18-19
In an open-and-shut case, 1 minor girl and 2 women were rescued from a brothel in a province northeast of Phnom Penh by AIM SWAT and local police. 1 suspect was arrested after covert surveillance confirmed information that a minor was being sold for sex on the premises. After the massage parlor/brothel was search and evidence seized, the doors of this dark, horrendous place were closed for good.
The girl was then transferred to AIM’s Restoration Home where she wass welcomed by house moms and others who will show her the relentless, unconditional love of Jesus. We pray for her healing and growth! The 2 women rescued were offered care at AIM’s Transitional Home in Phnom Penh. One of them has accepted this offer and is now in our Transitional Home where she will stay as long as she needs, and the other has been placed into the care of the district social affairs office. The suspect has been placed into custody to await trial where AIM’s legal team will represent all survivors in the upcoming court proceedings.
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.– John 10:10
In December of 2020, 3 girls bravely escaped capture and made a report to police that they had been trafficked away from their homes in Vietnam. They had been told there were employment opportunities in the Cambodian costal town of Sihanoukville. Expecting to begin work in sales, the girls made their way to Cambodia with no idea what would happen next.
Instead of a job in sales, the girls were told upon arrival that they would be required to sell themselves for sex with foreign men. When they refused, they were locked in a strange, unfamiliar house that was guarded day and night. Miraculously, they escaped from the house after stealing the guards keys and sneaking away while he was in the bathroom! The courage of these young women need not go unnoticed. When they were able to make their way home, they made complaints to police, which led to a month-long search for the suspects.
All 3 of the survivors offered help capture the suspects and worked with our team to lure them to Phnom Penh where they faced AIM SWAT and local police outside a popular coffee shop. Once the girls identified the suspects, both traffickers admitted to their crimes and now face child sex trafficking charges. They will remain in prison until their trial.
Without the help of these brave girls, the suspects may have gotten away and hurt other children! We are amazed by how they showed so much strength and courage throughout their capture, escape, and the eventual arrest of their traffickers. Shortly after reporting the incident to police, they were escorted to AIM’s Restoration Home where they have been and will continue to receive care, rest, and love for as long as they need.
Case Update: Both suspects have been tried and convicted! They will each serve 15 years in prison and have been ordered to pay compensation to each survivor.
Learn to do right; seek justice.
Defend the oppressed.-Isaiah 1:17a
5 minor girls and 2 adult women are now safe and free from sex trafficking after AIM SWAT and local police successfully detained a woman suspected of trafficking. The suspect was in the process of trafficking the survivors, who were then rescued by our team and taken into the care of AIM’s Restoration Home or a partner aftercare home.
The operation followed covert surveillance which confirmed that the suspected woman was selling the girls to customers at a restaurant where she worked. Taking her position of authority as floor manager of the restaurant to her advantage, the suspect convinced these girls to have sex with customers in exchange for money. She would then take profit for herself from the “transaction”.
This form of trafficking has been more prevalent to AIM SWAT in recent months: traffickers using various means to recruit vulnerable women and girls into the business of sex work. In interviews with the survivors of this case, it was revealed that the suspect had recruited coworkers of the restaurant, as well as others online.
With these interviews and other evidence, the suspect has since been charged with child sex trafficking related offenses and will await trial from prison. AIM’s legal team will represent all 7 survivors in future court proceedings.
I will walk about in freedom, for I have sought out your precepts.– Psalm 119:45
More rescues to come…
AIM SWAT and local police have been on the move this year, and we’re only one month in! We are so proud of the hard work that is being done to defeat the evil of trafficking. It is only with the support, prayers, and help of people like you that these rescues are possible. When we come together, we can defeat the greatest evil of our lifetime. Stay tuned as we continue to share stories of freedom, hope, and justice as the year continues!