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Phnom Penh court hears case of niece sold for sex

A child-sex trafficking trial concluded yesterday at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court with all three defendants denying guilt, according to one of the lawyers of the accused.

Peung Yok Hieb, lawyer for sisters Chea Sros and Chea Tina, said her clients deny they sold their 13-year-old niece to the third defendant, Chhin Chhaily, who also denies raping the girl. Sros and Tina, who raised the victim, were arrested in August last year along with Chhaily.

According to the complaint by the victim, her aunts forced her to have sex with Chhaily, who paid them $1,000. The complaint also stated that the victim was chained up for several days.

“On 13 July, 2015, Chea Tina chained my both legs until July 27, when I found the key and unlocked them and escaped to a neighbouring house,” reads the complaint letter.

When interviewed by police in 2015, Tina said she chained the victim up when she went to work because the victim often ran away from home.

Tina later told prosecutors that the victim chained herself. Sros told prosecutors she saw the victim chained up sometimes, but did not know who did it. She denied any involvement.

In a police report, Chhaily maintained that the victim was his fiancée and the payment was for wedding costs. “The charge that I slept with her at a guesthouse is not true”, Chhaily said in the report.

Chea Sokha, 62, grandfather of the victim and father of Sros and Tina, insisted in an interview yesterday that his granddaughter is 18 years old, not 13 as stated in the complaint.

The verdict is due on September 21.

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