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Orphan girl sold for sex, court hears

A woman, 44, appeared in Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday, charged with selling a 13-year-old orphan into prostitution.

Kim Dany, the presiding judge, said Em Sophea was accused of kidnapping the girl – who was born HIV-positive – from New Hope for Cambodian Children (NHCC), an orphanage in Kandal’s Takhmao town, and selling her to have sex with her gambling partner at a brothel in the capital’s Chamkarmon district last June.

“She brought the girl to visit her family, and finally sold her to have sex with a man,” Dany said.

According to Sok Phalla, executive director of NHCC, the girl had disappeared from the orphanage before returning on her own three days later.

“I have noticed she was pale, and looked very tired. And there were many injuries on both her arms and legs. She soon told us that she was abducted by this accused woman, and detained inside her house,” Phalla said.

A medical examination revealed serious injuries to the girl’s genital area, likely as a result of being raped, he added.

The orphanage filed a complaint, demanding about $5,000 in compensation, and an arrest was made.

Sophea denied the accusations at yesterday’s hearing, asking the court to drop the charges against her.

After four hours, Dany postponed the session to an unspecified date.

If found guilty, Sophea faces up to 20 years in prison.

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