A Cambodian woman convicted of pimping three underage Vietnamese girls appealed her sentence in court yesterday, claiming she made relatively little money from the girls and had obtained their mothers’ consent to be sold for sex.
Hou Ngoy, 25, was sentenced on December 25, 2009, to 10 years in prison on charges of child sex trafficking.
Ngoy had the girls sleep with foreign clients as well.
She pleaded for the Appeal Court to lighten her punishment or drop the charges altogether.
“Sometimes I used to bring foreigners for clients – only for $5 to $10 each time I took a girl to a customer,” she said.
Ngoy added that their mothers had agreed with the arrangement. “I would like the court to drop the charges against me,” she said.
The prosecutor’s representative said the court will take into account the fact that the suspect had previously confessed to her crime when the court decides whether or not to show leniency.
Som Sony, the plaintiff’s attorney from the original case, said that pardoning Ngoy would enable her to commit the same crimes again, and asked the court to uphold the sentence.
Sony said that although Ngoy had confessed to her crime, the girls were abused physically before being taken to see customers.
Dun Vibol, Ngoy’s attorney, said that because she had admitted her crime she should have her punishment lightened or given a pardon.
Hou Ngoy was arrested on February 26, 2009.
According to the case’s history, she ran an operation in which three Vietnamese girls, aged 11 and 12 years old, had sex for money in Svay Pak.
The appeal court’s verdict will be decided on August 13.
According to UNICEF, in certain parts of Cambodia, “Vietnamese sex workers far outnumber Cambodians”.
Svay Pak, located 11 kilometres from Phnom Penh, has achieved notoriety for its connections to the sex trade, especially underage Vietnamese.
Under pressure from the UN, the Cambodian government shut down Svay Pak’s brothels by 2003, but challenges remain.