PHONM PENH, CAMBODIA – Last night, IJM helped police rescue girls from two brothels in the heart of Cambodia's capital city. Both brothels fronted as massage parlors and are apparently part of the same criminal network that traffics and sells Vietnamese girls for sex.
Cambodia's anti-trafficking police unit discovered the abuse and called IJM for assistance with the October 31 operations. To ensure all of the criminals were captured, they planned simultaneous operations to rescue the girls from both brothels on the same night. IJM Cambodia Field Office Director Christa Hayden Sharpe commended the officers who led the complex operations, H.E General Pol Pei They, Director of Anti-Human Trafficking and Col. Sok Reaskmey, Deputy Director in charge of Juvenile Protection.
At the request of the police, IJM had been investigating both brothels for months. The intensive work and careful planning paid off on the night of the operation: Between the two brothels, police arrested seven suspects and brought the young women out of the dark and dingy massage parlors. Many of the sex trafficking survivors are believed to be minors, and they are now at a safe aftercare shelter where they will continue to receive crisis care.
Over the coming weeks and months, IJM will work closely with the aftercare shelter to make sure the survivors receive the customized care and trauma counseling they need to rebuild a safe future. IJM will also support the case as it develops against suspected traffickers and represent the survivors in court.
The operation—the largest one IJM Cambodia has helped with this year—demonstrated the anti-trafficking police unit's serious commitment to ending sex trafficking of children. IJM's Christa Hayden Sharpe called out the senior officer who championed the case and led the operation: "We especially commend General Pol Pei They for his vision and leadership in enforcing Cambodia's anti-trafficking laws and ensuring that no criminal is more powerful than the law."