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NGO accused of illegally detaining minor

NGO accused of illegally detaining minor

The country director of an international NGO is due to appear in Phnom Penh Municipal Court for questioning today, after a woman filed a complaint accusing the organisation of illegally detaining her 17-year-old daughter.

Va Ang, 46, said the municipal Department of Social Affairs had sent her daughter to the World Hope International shelter in Phnom Penh after Tonle Basac district police arrested her on suspicion of selling sexual services in a public place on September 21.

Va Ang said that when she tried to collect her daughter from the shelter two days later, the NGO director had told her she needed a letter of support from the village chief. She said, however, that when she returned to the shelter with the letter on September 28, the NGO director accused her of forgery and refused to allow her daughter to leave.

She said yesterday that her daughter was still being held in the shelter.

“I really want my daughter to come back home to live,” she said.

Va Tong, WHI country director, yesterday denied that the girl had been illegally detained and said she was no longer staying at the shelter.

“I did not detain the girl and I don’t know where the girl is,” he said, adding that he would not appear in court today.

Yorn Synal, a lawyer for the prosecution, said that as far as he was aware, the girl was still being held at the shelter.

“I met the victim directly on Saturday and she wants to return to her house to meet her mother, but the director did not allow her to leave,” he said.

He said that he had encouraged the family to sue. “It is illegal that the NGO director detained the victim because she is minor,” he said.

Va Ang, who is also due to appear for questioning today, said she filed a complaint in late September accusing the
NGO of defamation and the illegal detention of a minor.

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