Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Ministry probing NGO for role in CNN segment

Ministry probing NGO for role in CNN segment

Union of Journalist Federations of Cambodia Director Huy Vannak (centre) speaks to the press on Thursday alongside Interior Ministry officials regarding a CNN report on child prostitution. FRESH NEWS
Union of Journalist Federations of Cambodia Director Huy Vannak (centre) speaks to the press on Thursday alongside Interior Ministry officials regarding a CNN report on child prostitution. Fresh News

Ministry probing NGO for role in CNN segment

The Interior Ministry has launched an investigation into a Christian NGO working in Cambodia, after a journalists union claimed they fabricated stories about child prostitution that were broadcast by international news networks CNN and ABC News.

Huy Vannak, an Interior Ministry undersecretary of state and the president of the Union of Journalist Federations of Cambodia, wrote a letter to CNN condemning the “serious errors” in their recent story The Cambodian girls sold for sex by their mothers, highlighting that the young women interviewed were ethnically Vietnamese. The headline was later changed.

At a press conference on Friday, anti-human trafficking police said they would investigate Agape International Ministries (AIM), run by American missionaries Don and Bridget Brewster, after Vannak claimed the pair had “twisted” facts for fundraising.

“The beautiful smile and dignity of Cambodian mothers and girls should not be distorted by AIM for their petty fundraising purpose,” he said.

Ministry of Interior officials just last year praised AIM’s work and gave them a letter of commendation for helping fight sexual exploitation. Don Brewster declined to comment.

The recent coverage featured a CNN journalist returning to Phnom Penh’s Svay Pak district – once a child prostitution hotspot – to interview women featured in a 2013 CNN documentary starring actress Mira Sorvino.

Vannak claimed the brothels of Svay Pak, which cropped up in the 1990s, had “not existed” for 15 years. Attempts to close the brothels began in 2003 and they were declared closed in 2005.

MOST VIEWED

  • Investors’ $14.4M projects approved

    New investments from local and foreign sources continue to pour into Cambodia despite the Covid-19 pandemic remaining a lingering threat to regional and global economies. This comes as the Kingdom’s gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to contract between one and 2.9 per cent this

  • NagaWorld casinos set to reopen, schools to follow

    NAGACORP Ltd has requested that it be allowed to reopen its NagaWorld integrated resorts in Phnom Penh after the government recently approved casinos to operate again, provided they follow Covid-19 prevention measures set by the Ministry of Health. Mey Vann, the director-general of the Ministry

  • Rubber exports stretch 17%

    Cambodia exported 97,175 tonnes of natural rubber in the first five months of this year, surging 17 per cent compared to the same period last year as the Covid-19 pandemic stretches on, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries official Khuong Phalla told The Post on Thursday. Phalla,

  • ASEM supports Kingdom’s proposal to postpone meeting amid Covid

    The 13th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM13) scheduled to be held in Cambodia in November has been postponed until mid-2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation press statement released on Saturday said. The decision was made during a two-day meeting

  • Coffee maker roasted for producing fake product

    The Ministry of Interior’s Counter Counterfeit Committee will send a suspect to court on Monday after she allegedly roasted coffee mixed with soybeans and other ingredients, creating a product which could pose a high risk to consumers’ health. On the afternoon of July 2, the

  • Cash handout programme 80% complete

    Minister of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation Vong Soth confirmed on Thursday that the implementation of the Cash Transfer Programme For Poor and Vulnerable Households During Covid-19 had been implemented for more than 80% of the over 560,000 families. The programme was introduced one week ago.

  • Cambodia armed with money laundering laws

    Money laundering will now carry a penalty of up to five years in prison while those convicted of financing terrorists will be jailed for up to 20 years, according to new laws promulgated by King Norodom Sihamoni and seen by The Post on Thursday. Comprising nine

  • Where is Cambodia’s exit strategy that can save the economy?

    With the prospect of being slammed by a double whammy, the government is working on an economic recovery plan to deliver it from Covid-19 and the EU’s partial withdrawal of the Everything But Arms scheme in the next two to three years Cambodia is

  • Schools to be reopened in ‘three stages’

    With guidance from Prime Minister Hun Sen, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, is in the process of reopening schools in three stages. But no timeline has been set, ministry spokesperson Ros Soveacha said on Thursday. Soveacha said the first stage will be to

  • Thai border crossings eased

    The Cambodian Embassy in Thailand said in an announcement on Wednesday that Thailand’s government has allowed certain passengers from several countries to enter its borders. The visitors must go back to their country immediately after their duties in Thailand are fulfilled, the embassy said.