RATANAKKIRI provincial authorities shut down 27 karaoke and massage parlours in Banlung town and Koh Keo district Saturday, saying the businesses were fronts for prostitution.
Phen Dina, deputy provincial police chief, said the crackdown was in line with orders from higher authorities.
“This is a large-scale crackdown on these licenced and unlicenced karaoke parlours.We now have no other karaoke clubs except for public karaoke places and one disco,” he said.
“The reopening of these karaoke parlours will have to wait for undetermined new regulations.”
He said that all staff members from the 27 parlours were urged to return home and look for jobs in restaurants, the disco or the remaining public karaoke bars in the area.
Pen Bonnar, provincial coordinator for local rights group Adhoc, applauded the crackdown, but expressed concern that the women formerly working at the parlours would now be vulnerable to exploitation.
“We are concerned about the girls who lost their jobs. They could face problems with their lives,” he said.
“We are concerned with brokers in human trafficking who may lure these girls, as the girls have no jobs and could be easily cheated.”
The Ratanakkiri crackdown is similar to raids undertaken in Phnom Penh last month, following a directive issued by Hun Sen in March to increase efforts to eliminate illegal gambling halls, brothels, nightclubs and karaoke parlours in the Kingdom.