Group says families initially were intimidated by the two, but finally decided to report the crimes.
TWO men, one Cambodian and the other Vietnamese, have been arrested on suspicion of raping one young girl and attempting to rape another in Russey Keo district, police told the Post Monday.
An official with an anti-human trafficking group added that the pair are thought to be behind numerous sexual assaults against children in the same neighbourhood.
Keo Thea, director of Phnom Penh’s Municipal Anti-human Trafficking and Juvenile Protection Bureau, confirmed the arrests but declined to identify the suspects.
“My men arrested a Vietnamese man who is over 20 years old, along with a Cambodian man who is over 40,” Keo Thea said. The victims are two Vietnamese girls, ages 13 and 15, he added.
Samleang Seila, country director of Action Pour Les Enfants (APLE), a child rights group, told the Post on Monday that his organisation had tipped off the anti-human trafficking police after hearing complaints from villagers in Russey Keo district.
“We learned about the [suspected] child sex abuse and urged the victims to be brave enough to complain to the police,” he said.
Samleang Seila added that he believes this is not the first time the two suspects have abused local children.
“[We are] prepared to provide more witnesses to press charges against the men,” he said. “We believe that the men not only abused these two victims, but that there are many other girls and boys out there who are now afraid to speak up against the men.”
Samleang Seila said the men are suspected of numerous abuses, including rape, in the same small fishing village during the past three years.
He said the suspects are believed to have struck when the children’s parents were away fishing on the river.
Up until now, however, the villagers have been afraid to speak out, he said.
“Victims’ parents were not brave enough to dare complain about the men,” he said, adding that the suspects threatened the families with injury or death if they contacted the police. However, the most recent alleged rapes were a turning point.
“Villagers could not tolerate this any longer and decided to bring their cases to my organisation,” Samleang Seila said.