A ex-volunteer fired from the Svay Pak-based organisation Agape International Missions (AIM) – a Christian NGO that seeks to combat sex trafficking – was tried by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court for allegedly raping four former street boys younger than 10 years old who were meant to be in his care.
Presiding judge Keo Mony said that defendant Sem Sam, also known as Dara, 19, had allegedly abused the boys, who were staying at the organisation’s centre, in November and December of 2013.
“He lured the victims to play games on his iPhone. He has also displayed sexual video clips for them very often,” Mony said. “He had sex with them in the centre in exchange for allowing them to play games and watch sexual video clips on his iPhone.”
Sem Sam was charged with “sexual intercourse with a minor under 15” under the Law on the Suppression of Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation, and was arrested in May based on a complaint from the head of AIM.
Chan Tha, a pastor of AIM, corroborated the allegations presented by Mony, and said that AIM became aware of the abuse when the victims came forward after the fact.
During his trial yesterday, Sam admitted to having sex with the four boys, but asked that his sentence be reduced, maintaining that the sex was consensual.
“I did not force them to have sex with me, but they agreed to do it,” he told the court.
“I know my mistake now. I would like to ask the court to reduce my sentence,” he added.
Ly Da, a lawyer representing the victims, said that each of the four were demanding $500 in compensation.
Sam’s verdict will be handed down on October 16.