PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA – Two Cambodian traffickers have been convicted and sentenced to nearly a decade in prison – a strong sentence according to the IJM staff who worked on the case. "The verdicts that came from this trial were extremely positive and send out a strong message," explains IJM Cambodia Case Monitor Vinira Hok.
But the now-convicted perpetrators weren't in the courtroom to hear the sentence: They have been at-large for the past four years. The manhunt will now intensify, as police search to find them so they can begin serving their prison sentences. In addition to the prison sentence, both men were ordered to pay each of the trafficking survivors significant monetary compensation.
In 2008, IJM Cambodia helped police to rescue ten women and girls who had been trafficked to two brothels run by the same owner in a village near the Thai border. During the rescue operation, IJM and the Cambodian police gathered clear evidence of the exploitation that would later be used in the trial. IJM represented four of the trafficking survivors who were minors, and one of the girls courageously decided to testify in the trial. All of the girls have returned to their home communities, after receiving care and counseling from IJM and aftercare partners.