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High court hears child prostitution case

The Supreme Court yesterday heard the appeal case of three women sentenced to seven years in prison for procuring two minors to become prostitutes, a charge that victims and their attorneys deny.

According to presiding judge Soeung Panha Vuth, defendants Eng Phan, 45, Chem Pov, 47, and Hong Thy, 47, were arrested in 2010 at the Lucky Star Hotel after having been asked by a Chinese national to find young girls and take them to a clinic for blood and virginity tests in preparation for selling them into prostitution.

Defence lawyer Khieu Sophal maintained that there was no evidence in the case apart from forced confessions.

“The victim did not testify before the court that my client committed the crime as accused,” he said.

The doctor’s letter, he added, was simply a health check-up.

Phan, Sophal’s client, maintained that she had simply hired one of the purported victims, a 16-year-old girl from a poor family, to make fish dumplings for 10,000 riel ($2.50) a day.

Defendant Pov said that she didn’t know the victim, and had simply been waiting for an appointment when she was arrested.

Dismissing the claims of innocence, Sek Saroeun, a lawyer for the victims, asked the court to punish the defendants further by making them pay compensation.

The verdict is to be be handed down on February 14.

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