The Child Protection Unit (CPU) has established Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) – an online group created to combat any form of online child sexual exploitation and abuse.
In a Facebook post on Saturday where he made the announcement, ICU operations director James McCabe said the ICAC will carry out its work in cooperation with the National Police.
McCabe wrote: “The Commissioner-General of the Cambodian National Police formally approved the establishment of ICAC on the 29th of October 2019. Operations will commence immediately.
“There is still some procedural work to be done to ensure we are using best practices and gather[ing] the evidence but we are very excited to be a part of this important work.”
McCabe told The Post on Sunday that the penalty would be relative to the crime committed. An offender guilty of grooming a child with the objective of committing illicit sexual acts will be punished severely.
Similarly, possession of pornographic materials will receive a different penalty. “So far we’ve already had one arrest of an offender [earlier this year] – a local offender who groomed a 12-year-old, then encouraged the minor to have sex with him,” the CPU operations director said.
Nine men in Siem Reap were also arrested for distributing child pornographic materials online, he added.
McCabe commended the government and the Cambodian National Police for having the foresight to respond to such an emerging global issue.
Chou Bun Eng, the secretary of state and permanent vice-chair of the National Committee for Counter Trafficking (NCCT), told The Post on Sunday that the ministry will primarily focus on surveillance against predators on the internet.
“It is important to monitor online communication channels which most of our kids use. Children are not the only ones who use these channels; even adults do. Opportunists will take advantage of these channels to prey on children,” Bun Eng said.
In line with this, Bun Eng strongly encouraged the immediate cooperation of online users such as reporting any suspicious activities on the internet.