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

  • Stock photo agencies cash in on Khmer Rouge tragedy
    Stock-photo companies selling images from S-21 raises ethics concerns

    A woman with short-cropped hair stares directly into the camera, her head cocked slightly to the side. On her lap is a sleeping infant just barely in the frame. The woman was the wife of a Khmer Rouge officer who fell out of favour, and

  • US think tank warns of China's 'ulterior motives'

    A US think tank on Tuesday warned that spreading Chinese investment in the Indo-Pacific follows a pattern of leveraging geopolitical influence at the expense of the nations receiving investment, including Cambodia. The report looks at a sample of 15 Chinese port development projects, noting that the

  • Defence Ministry denies weapons in smuggling case came from Cambodia

    After a Thai national was arrested last week for allegedly smuggling guns from Cambodia to Thailand, Cambodia's Defence Ministry has claimed the weapons seized during the arrest are not used in Cambodia, despite the fact that both types of rifle seized are commonly found in

  • More than three tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia seized in Mozambique

    A total of 3.5 tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia was seized by authorities in Mozambique late last week, according to the NGO Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). CITES' information was based on a report from the