Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Villagers say court ordered them to compensate trafficker

Villagers say court ordered them to compensate trafficker

Villagers say court ordered them to compensate trafficker

Prey Veng villagers protest court order, arguing they were given false

promises of work abroad and should not be forced to honour contract.

ALOOF COURTS 

Rights group says human trafficking remains pervasive, and largely unpunished, in Cambodia.  Some 141 human trafficking cases were reported last year, but only 15 were heard by the courts, according to a February report by the Cambodian National Council for Women. 

VILLAGERS in Prey Veng province's Mesang district filed a complaint Monday with local rights group Adhoc over a court decision demanding they hand over their property to a man they say is a human trafficker who duped them to work in Thailand.

Vi Savoeun, 21, said he was promised a job in Thailand by Len Own in 2005, but was put in prison when arriving there because he did not have immigration documents.

"I was promised a job in Thailand with 20 other men. We are poor and had hoped to earn money, but we were arrested and put in jail for four days and then sent back to Cambodia."

I was promised a job in thailand with 20 other men... we were arrested and put in jail for 4 days and sent back to Cambodia.

He said he had mortgaged his land title to Len Own in exchange for a promise of employment across the border.
Another man, Khin Sat, 21, said he also faced property seizure, including his house and motorbike, following a broken promise of employment from Len Own.  He also said he was promised 400,000 riels (US$96.95) as an upfront bonus, but he did not see the money.

Scared to speak up

Several families are facing property seizures from the court, but only two families have filed a complaint with Adhoc, according to the group's provincial monitor Nget Nara, who said the other families feared reprimands from local authorities if they came forward.  

He said the court flaunted the law and made its ruling "without any investigation".

"The is a typical case of human trafficking where we see villagers cheated because they are very poor" and easily  lured with promises of money, he added.  

 He said two cases of human trafficking in Prey Veng had been reported to Adhoc last year, and this was the first case it received this year. He said people should inform authorities before attempting to work abroad in order to avoid falling victim to exploitation.

March 11 is the deadline for Prey Veng's provincial court to seize the homes in Sramor village, Prey Rumdeng commune. Nget Nara saidt he would write a letter to the court to delay the seizure and open further investigation.

Provincial prosecutor Yam Yet said that it was not his role to solve villagers' complaint, but to follow the court's decision.

But he added: "I know they are poor and have nowhere to live if we seize their property, so I will check all possibilities of helping them."  

Len Own could not be contacted Monday. 

MOST VIEWED

  • Hun Sen’s China visit ‘a good opportunity’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen’s visit to Beijing on Sunday to discuss economic and trade issues presents a good opportunity for the Kingdom to strengthen Chinese ties and counter punitive measures by the West, an analyst says. The prime minister’s four-day official visit to

  • Former chief bodyguard receives royal pardon

    The former chief bodyguard of late Senate president Chea Sim has received a royal pardon nearly eight years after he was sentenced to 15 years behind bars on several charges, according to a royal decree dated November 12, last year, and obtained by The Post on Wednesday.

  • Close to the edge: Hair raising pictures from Kulen Mountain

    A new hair raising attraction on Kulen Mountain has finally opened to the public, with people flocking to the protruding cliff edge overlooking green mountainous forests to take photographs. The giant overhanging rock is situated in an area known as Mahendraparvata – an ancient city of

  • US warned not to interfere despite successful meeting

    A senior Ministry of National Defence official said the Tuesday meeting between the US Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defence for South and Southeast Asia Joseph H Felter and General Neang Phat had helped strengthen relations between the two countries’ militaries. However, a senior Cambodian People’