Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - PM orders investigation into 'orphan' case

PM orders investigation into 'orphan' case

PM orders investigation into 'orphan' case

HUN SEN has ordered an investigation into the release of four suspected baby

traffickers following a request by Minister for Women's and Veterans Affairs, Mu

Sochua.

"I sent a letter to the Prime Minister containing three

recommendations," she said.

The Prime Minister then instructed the

Council of Ministers (CoM) to take action. On September 12 the CoM directed the

Ministry of Justice and Ministry of Interior (MoI) to follow up the

investigation, based on the original police report.

The MoI was also

ordered to investigate the use of a website as a marketing tool in promoting

Asian Orphanage Association (AOA). The letter, signed by CoM secretary of state

Chea Sophorn, directs that the children are to remain in the care of Licadho and

other international organizations.

Sochua said that her ministry, which

launched an anti-trafficking initiative this week, will monitor implementation

of the recommendations.

Licadho has already been approached by the

mothers of two of the infants following publicity from the September 3 raid. The

human rights NGO has come under intense pressure this week to hand over 12

children taken in a recent raid on two Tuol Kork households suspected of

engaging in baby trafficking.

AOA director Puth Sereysaid he would

welcome an investigation.

"If my association is wrong I will request that

the government close my orphanage, but if the court finds that I've done the

right thing then Licadho should maybe close, and they should go to jail for a

long time," he told the Post.

"I will make a file to the court and

complain that they have kidnapped my children under the legal custody of my

orphanage and they violated the law," he said.

It is not the first time

the two organizations have clashed. In June last year Licadho investigated

allegations of baby buying against the orphanage.

Minister Sochua praised

Hun Sen for taking a strong stand.

"He is really concerned and very

committed to the issue of trafficking. All along he has given us full support,"

she said.

AOA representatives and Licadho are scheduled to discuss the

case with court officials today.

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