Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Murders of sex workers shock Siem Reap

Murders of sex workers shock Siem Reap

Murders of sex workers shock Siem Reap

protit.jpg
protit.jpg

OU NAVI's ten-month career as a Siem Reap sex worker ended on June 20 when the electrical

tape used to gag her screams for help caused her to die of suffocation.

img src="images/stories/news/national/Issue9-16/protit.jpg" alt="protit.jpg" title="protit.jpg" style="margin: 5px; float: left; width: 200px; height: 240px" height="240" width="200" />

Ou Navi, a Siem Reap sex worker murdered on June 20

The pair of well-dressed Khmer men who had accompanied Navi and a fellow-sex worker

to a Siem Reap guest house had ended their tryst with a robbery attempt that made

Navi the first of three sex workers reported to have been murdered in Siem Reap in

the last six weeks.

The series of murders - all unsolved - is worrying NGOs in Siem Reap that provide

services to the town's sex worker population.

"We're deeply concerned about the increase in violence against sex workers in

Siem Reap," said Dymphna Kenny, Coordinator of Medicins Sans Frontiers' (MSF)

STD/HIV/AIDS Project in Siem Reap.

"Sex workers are always very vulnerable [to violence] ... but Navi's death was

particularly cruel," she said.

The concerns of MSF personnel deepened when it was revealed that another sex worker

had been discovered dead in a guest house room on July 19, the night before Navi's

murder.

"One day before [Navi's death], police checking a guest house for criminals

found the body of another sex worker," said MSF social worker Liem Leang.

"The cause of death was uncertain, but other sex workers say that she'd been

murdered."

A third sex worker, known only by her first name, "Lida" , was found strangled

to death on the road leading to the Siem Reap town reservoir on July 12. The 32-year-old

Lida had likewise been robbed of her cash and jewelry.

The three murders have left many of Siem Reap's "freelance" sex workers

anxious about the potential threat to their safety.

Eying potential clients at a popular Siem Reap bar frequented by tourists and expats,

a self-described "taxi girl" who requested anonymity expressed fear at

the implications of the three murders.

"I know that what happened to those three [murdered] girls could also happen

to me," the woman said. "I'm wearing less jewelry than I usually do so

that I don't attract the attention of robbers."

Ou Eim, Chief of Penal Police for Siem Reap, told the Post that the police were aware

only of the deaths of Navi and Lida. However, Eim said he too was shocked by the

cruelty of the killings.

"A couple years ago it wasn't uncommon for [sex workers] to be drugged by clients

and then robbed," Eim said. "But these violent murders are something we

haven't seen before in Siem Reap."

According to Eim, the suspects in Navi's murder were "Phnom Penh gangsters"

who subsequently fled Siem Reap. Suspects in Lida's murder are Siem Reap residents

who are believed by the police to have escaped to either Battambang or Banteay Meanchay.

Navi's mother, Doeum Sophany, criticized the police for a lack of action on her daughters

case.

"I have sent a letter to [human rights NGO] Licadho asking for their assistance

in Navi's case," Sophany said. "Losing Navi was like losing both of my

arms."

MOST VIEWED

  • Hun Sen: Full country reopening to be decided in two weeks

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has announced that if the Covid-19 situation remains stable for 15 consecutive days from the end of the October 5-7 Pchum Ben public holiday, Cambodia will reopen fully, albeit in the context of Covid-19 whereby people have to adjust their lives to

  • Cambodia sets new Covid-19 quarantine rules

    The government has modified Covid-19 quarantine requirements, shortening the duration for, among others, Cambodian officials, foreign diplomats and delegations, investors and inbound travellers in general. According to an official notice signed by Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng late on October 16, quarantine length for Cambodian

  • Will Evergrande change the way Chinese developers do business in Cambodia?

    China’s property sector policy has exposed the grim financial condition of real estate developers including those operating in Cambodia, which raises questions over the viability of their projects and business going forward The dark blue netting draping over one of Yuetai Group Co Ltd’

  • Phnom Penh governor: Show Covid-19 vaccination cards, or else

    Phnom Penh municipal governor Khuong Sreng late on October 5 issued a directive requiring all people aged 18 and over and the parents of children aged 6-17 to produce Covid-19 vaccination cards when entering schools, markets, malls, marts, eateries and other business establishments that have been permitted

  • Cambodia seeks probe into 'false reports' on Hun Sen's alleged Cypriot passport

    Minister of Justice Koeut Rith on September 6 wrote a letter to his Cypriot counterpart Stephie Dracos requesting cooperation in investigating and providing the truth in relation to the "exaggerative and false allegations" that Prime Minister Hun Sen holds a Cypriot passport. In his letter, the

  • 'Pandora Papers' expose leaders' offshore millions

    More than a dozen heads of state and government, from Jordan to Azerbaijan, Kenya and the Czech Republic, have used offshore tax havens to hide assets worth hundreds of millions of dollars, according to a far-reaching new investigation by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (