On the 27th of May, officers of the Phnom Penh police together with AIM SWAT officers conducted an operation in western Phnom Penh to rescue 6 children ages 1, 2, 5, 7, 10, and 13 who had been trafficked into a forced begging gang. The children had been dropped off at a local market to beg from local people by 2 adult female traffickers who were arrested during the raid after a 2-week long surveillance operation following information we received from the Phnom Penh District Social Affairs Office.
After their rescue, the older children shared how they were forced to beg for up to 18 hours per day to the profit of both traffickers. The children all came from Prey Veng province some time ago including the 2-year-old who was abandoned by his mother. At this time, none of the children are able to give details of their birth families but we are still working to try to find them and discover how they ended up being trafficked to Phnom Penh.
All of the children have now been transferred to partner aftercare shelters while the suspects will remain in prison to await trial and have been charged with child trafficking-related offenses. Our legal team will represent all of the victims throughout the forthcoming court proceedings.