For the past few months, COVID-19 shutdowns have continued to keep most of Cambodia closed. Unfortunately, this does NOT mean trafficking, exploitation, and abuse have subsided. AIM SWAT, however, has been able to persevere through the difficulties of shutdown by working with local police to close cases, arrest perpetrators, and provide valuable resources to survivors. Although cases may look a little different, we are so proud of our team for their hard work and endurance through this time. Here is a recap of the work that has been done!
A brothel, fronting as a massage parlor in Siem Reap was shut down by local police and AIM SWAT! This raid followed covert surveillance, confirming that sexual services were being sold on the premises and that minors were working there. During the raid, 4 adult women and 1 minor girl were rescued!
During interviews, the survivors explained that different services were offered to customers depending on how much they were willing to pay.
Upon closure of the brothel, the suspect was arrested and will await trial from prison. The young girl is receiving care from a partner organization, while the adults were assisted by the district social affairs office. All 5 will be represented by AIM’s legal team in the upcoming court proceedings.
A female trafficker was arrested by local police and AIM SWAT on June 21st! The woman was suspected to be in the process of trafficking 4 minor girls for sex. Previous surveillance of the suspect confirmed that she was, in fact, selling young girls and taking them to a guest house nearby to meet customers. 4 girls were rescued during the arrest!
While being interviewed, the girls told police that they were promised “good money” by the suspect. However, the suspect subsequently sold them to customers for her own profit. She admitted to profiting off of the transactions. Having been charged with child trafficking related offenses, the suspect will await trial from prison.
All 4 girls are now being safely cared for at AIM’s Restoration Home. AIM’s legal team will represent them in the upcoming trial.
Seven rescued, including 5 minor girls and 2 adult women, from a guest house in Phnom Penh! On June 24th, AIM SWAT and local police detained a woman suspected of trafficking the 7 girls and women. This arrest followed surveillance that confirmed the suspect was delivering women and girls to customers who “ordered’ them for sex.
While examining the suspect’s phone, investigators found photos of each of the women and girls who were rescued. The style in which the photos were presented indicated that they were being used to showcase the survivors to customers. The customers could then choose whichever woman or girl they wanted.
The suspect has been arrested and charged with child sex trafficking related offenses and will await trial from prison.
All minors are now at AIM’s Restoration Home where they will be cared for and given the opportunity to heal and grow.
In late August, a 16 year old girl ran away from her home in a nearby province to the city of Phnom Penh. Presumably, while looking for comfort and safety, she turned to a woman who used to work for her family who was now living in the city. However, this quickly turned into a horrendous event when the woman and her friend sold the girl for her virginity to a 50 year old man. They convinced the girl to do so after she told them she needed to earn some money. Subsequently, the two women arranged for this same man to have multiple encounters with the girl for a set price.
Meanwhile, the girl’s mother was able to locate her. Upon discovery of the situation, she made a complaint to police. Once notified, the police, assisted by AIM SWAT, arrested both women and the man. All three have been charged with child trafficking related offenses. The girl is now safe with her family and AIM will provide aftercare services to her remotely. AIM’s legal team will represent the girl in all upcoming court proceedings.
Late in the night on September 28th, 3 neighboring brothels were raided and shut down by local police, assisted by AIM SWAT. In this coordinated operation, 11 survivors were rescued! This includes 5 minors and 6 adults.
This operation followed covert surveillance confirming that minors were being sold for sexual services in all three establishments. During interviews, the survivors confirmed this suspicion and explained how the suspect would profit from these forced services. That suspect has been arrested and charged with child sex trafficking related offenses.
AIM social workers will follow up with all survivors, offering services through AIM and partner NGOs. AIM’s legal team will represent the 11 in all upcoming trials.
In addition to these cases, AIM SWAT has been able to assist local police with the investigation and arrest of suspects in a number of abuse and sexual assault cases during the COVID-19 shutdowns. Without our team, and the support from our partners around the world, we would not be able to celebrate the justice that has prevailed. Praise God for the safety of the women and girls who have been rescued and removed from harmful situations. Please join us in praying for their healing!
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.