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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Investigation urged in alleged hostess rape

Investigation urged in alleged hostess rape

Beer garden worker and mother abducted at gunpoint

WOMEN'S rights groups are demanding an

investigation into the alleged rape of a beer garden hostess, who

witnesses said was abducted at gunpoint from her place of work last

week and assaulted in a guesthouse.

The incident, advocates say, highlights the dangers faced by young

women working in Phnom Penh's countless beer halls, where sexual

harassment and assault are not uncommon.

"I urge authorities to make every effort to arrest these perpetrators

and punish them under the law," said Nop Sarin Sreyroth, director of

the Cambodian Women's Crisis Center. "If they don't, other waitresses

and beer girls will face increased threats of assault," she added.

The 18-year-old alleged victim was approached last Monday night by two

men who asked her to sit with them and then asked for sex, according to

a co-worker who gave her name as Sieng Hai.

"She has worked at Soun Samneang [beer garden] for more than a year and

has never become involved with any of the men who drink here. Her

mother usually picks her up at 12:30am," Sieng Hai told the Post Sunday.

The two men returned Thursday night, this time armed with handguns, Sieng Hai said

"At about 12:30, the shop closed and we were all preparing to go home.

The hostess and her mother were getting into their car when the two men

came out with guns and abducted them," she said.

AFTER THE RAPE, THEY TOOK HER MOBILE PHONE SO SHE COULD NOT CALL FOR HELP.

Other beer garden employees refused to speak to

the Post. But Khem Rin, who said he shares a room with the victim and

her family near the beer garden, said: "I saw two men come out of the

beer garden and point guns to force them into their car. The staff and

I could do nothing because they had guns".
Khem Rin said he has not seen either the victim or her mother since the

incident, but Sieng Hai told the Post that the mother had contacted her

to say that her daughter was raped.

"After the rape, they took her mobile phone so she could not call for

help," Sieng Hai quoted the mother as saying. Chamkarmon district

police said Sunday they were investigating, but refused to comment.

The CWCC's Nop Sarin Sreyroth said the attack followed a familiar pattern.

"I have worked with many beer girls in the past and most of them have

been victims of rape by men who look down on them as prostitutes," she

said. "Women must have the courage to complain to employers or local

authorities when anyone tries to force them to have sex."

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