Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Woman, 50, busted for hiring child as beggar

Woman, 50, busted for hiring child as beggar

The woman arrested for sending her kids to beg on the streets. Photo supplied.
The woman arrested for sending her kids to beg on the streets. Photo supplied.

Woman, 50, busted for hiring child as beggar

A 50-year-old Phnom Penh woman is set to be sent to court today following her Wednesday arrest for allegedly luring a 9-year-old boy to work for her as a beggar in the streets of the capital, alongside her own 9- and 12-year-old children and 1-year-old grandson, anti-trafficking police said.

Keo Thea, director of the anti-trafficking office in Phnom Penh, said Yong Khem could face up to one year in jail. It’s unknown for how long the boy had worked for the suspect.

“She hired the boy to be a beggar and [paid] the boy 10,000 riel per day,” Thea said. Through the questioning, police found out that the woman would sometimes send her 1-year-old grandson with the children so they could earn more.

Despite child beggars and trinket vendors being a near-ubiquitous sight, Thea insisted similar prosecutions aren’t common because hiring children to beg is rare, maintaining that it’s usually children’s parents sending them to ask for money.

But Vuthy Sokanha, of Friends International, said hiring children to beg “is not a new issue”, and that support services for families were needed to keep kids out of the streets.

“However, sustainable solutions are the only solutions that will work with beggars – and that takes time,” Sokanha said.

UNICEF spokeswoman Iman Morooka said there’s an urgent need to strengthen the child protection system in Cambodia. “The exploitation of children under any circumstances is never acceptable.”

Son Sophal, director of the Social Affairs Department, said all of the children had been placed in the care of an NGO.

MOST VIEWED

  • US names new ambassador to Cambodia

    US President Donald Trump on Friday appointed W Patrick Murphy as the new US Ambassador to Cambodia, replacing incumbent William A Heidt. A press release posted on the White House’s website said nominee W Patrick Murphy is currently acting principal deputy assistant secretary at

  • Kingdom is at a crossroads between East, West after poll

    It was dubbed a success by caretaker prime minister Hun Sen after the electoral victory of his Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), which is poised to take all seats in the National Assembly. But the July 29 national election has not been positively looked at by

  • Chinese influence to sweep Kingdom?

    Growing Cambodia-China ties have seen the latter’s influence sweep across the Kingdom through increased investments and tourism. The Asian giant has become the leading source of foreign funds in Cambodia, fuelling the construction sector with huge casino and hotel projects. Much of the growth

  • Western poll flak is ‘pressure to take the Kingdom hostage’

    After last month’s national elections brought praise for the orderly manner they were run and managed, the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) spokesman Sok Eysan dismissed criticism from the West as a “violation of the Kingdom’s independence”. He said the attitude of