PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA – Late last week, IJM worked with police to rescue young women who were trapped in a brothel. IJM investigators discovered and documented evidence of the abuse that was occurring in the brothel, located in a popular tourist destination notorious for trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation of underage girls.
The brothel owner controlled the girls with intense fear tactics. In an apparent attempt to cover her own crimes, she told the girls that the police would arrest them and that they should hide if law enforcement ever came to the brothel. Terrified by the brothel owner's lies, one of the underage girls jumped out of a second-story window when the police arrived. She was immediately taken to the hospital, and IJM social workers stayed by her side throughout the weekend.
Despite the fears the brothel owner had instilled in her, the girl opened up to IJM staff, trusting that she was safe and the police had actually been there to help her. The young girl was eager to go to an aftercare home, where she will continue to receive care, counseling and support.
The brothel owner was arrested during the operation. IJM will build a case to ensure the owner is held accountable for any trafficking crimes – and to ensure no more underage girls are bought or sold for sex in the brothel.