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Delegation reviews vendor abuse claims

Siem Reap
A German delegation including at least one parliamentarian visited Banteay Srei temple on Wednesday to investigate allegations of the abuse of child vendors by Apsara officials.

The delegation is part of an annual review of projects in Cambodia funded by the German government.

This year, however, the group visited Siem Reap after meeting with opposition Sam Rainsy Party spokesman Yim Sovann over accusations that young vendors have been physically abused by Apsara Authority officials.

A German parliamentarian addressed a group of Banteay Srei vendors on Wednesday to express his country’s concern over the abuse claims.

“I am bringing this to the attention of the justice system in this country as well,” the German parliamentarian, who declined to be named, told the group through a translator.

“I decided to participate in the vendor meeting after I met with a representative of the SRP to discuss other problems in Cambodia. I came here to see what happened [to the children].”

At least five Apsara officials were at the meeting on Wednesday but only observed the proceedings and didn’t participate or comment, attendees said.

Apsara Authority sent a letter of clarification to Radio Free Asia on March 23 dismissing accusations of abuse as untrue, adding that the authority strives to create a good working environment for vendors at the temple.

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