A FRENCH national has been arrested for soliciting sex from a child prostitute, police said on Monday.
Authorities said they found Olivier Madrieres, 48, at a guesthouse on Saturday in the capital. “He was arrested while he was having sex with a prostitute,” said Keo Thea, chief of the municipal anti-trafficking and juvenile police unit.
Madrieres, who arrived in Cambodia last month as a tourist, was being held on suspicion of soliciting sex from the 15-year-old girl and faces up to five years in prison if convicted, Keo Thea said.
Samleang Seila, country director of the children’s NGO Action Pours Les Enfants, said the organisation had provided the girl with legal representation.
Cambodia has struggled to shed its reputation as a haven for paedophiles, putting dozens of foreigners in jail for child sex crimes or deporting them to face trial in their home countries since 2003.
Crackdown on sex crime
Several additional arrests were made at the weekend in an apparent drive to combat illicit sex. In one case, two Cambodians – a man and a woman – were arrested Saturday on suspicion of selling two girls, ages 16 and 18, to a brothel in Sihanoukville. Both have since been charged with human trafficking and procurement of prostitution, police said.
In a separate case, police raided a Chinese massage parlour in Phnom Penh’s Chamkarmon district Saturday, arresting two Chinese nationals – a man and a woman – on suspicion of human trafficking and the procurement of prostitution. Five Chinese women, allegedly trafficked into Cambodia from their homeland and forced to work as prostitutes, were freed.
Police on Friday also arrested a 30-year-old Cambodian man on suspicion of raping a 9-year-old girl at a school in Chhbar Ampov II commune.
Keo Thea praised the police efforts. “Our policemen have worked very hard” to apprehend the six suspects in two days, he said.