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

  • Omicron patients can stay home: PM

    The Ministry of Health has issued a directive on the treatment of people who have tested positive for the highly transmissible Omicron coronavirus variant, following a suggestion from Prime Minister Hun Sen on the night of January 21. The directive permits home quarantine for those who

  • Cambodia’s first ever anime festival kicks off Jan 22 at capital’s F3 centre

    Phnom Penh's first ever Anime Festival will bring together fans, artists, shops and other local businesses with ties to the Japanese animation style for cosplay competitions, online games, pop-up shops and more on January 22, with Friends Futures Factory (F3) hosting. F3 is a project that

  • Mr Pancake or M Crepe? Tasty by any title

    Crowds of people gather around a lone man with a mobile food cart every day at around 2pm in front of the Institut Francais du Cambodge to order what many say are the best crepes in Phnom Penh. To some – even to the man making

  • Phnom Penh condo market loses steam

    Just four new condominiums were launched for sale last year in the capital, down from 17 in 2020, according to research by CBRE Cambodia. The four developments comprised “more than 1,000” units, while the 17 in 2020 consisted of 10,866, the real estate firm reported. CBRE Cambodia categorises condos as “high-range”, “

  • Fourth dose Covid booster drive jabs 43K in two days

    In the first two days of the fourth-dose Covid-19 vaccination campaign, more than 43,000 people volunteered to get the jabs, while over 4.6 million people have received a third shot. Health ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine said that fourth-dose vaccinations, which began on January 14 exclusively with the Pfizer

  • Molnupiravir treatments available at Cambodia Post

    The working group overseeing the management, distribution and supply of strategic drugs in the fight against Covid-19 at the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications has begun distributing 200mg molnupiravir capsules with the brand name Molnatris at all branches of its Cambodia Post from January 19 in