International Children's Day 2007: Child abuse in public and behind closed doors

Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights (LICADHO)

May 31, 2007 - September 2006, ten girls aged between 14 and 17 years were persuaded by a fellow villager in Kompong Cham province to travel to Phnom Penh after they were promised jobs as domestic workers. However after arriving in Phnom Penh they were promptly taken to a local market where they were openly sold for 50,000 riel each. Fortunately this “auction” was witnessed by an LICADHO staff who obtained information from one of the victims and proceeded to work with LICADHO colleagues and other NGOs to ensure that all girls were found and returned safely to their families in the provinces.

This case is one of many tragic cases of child abuse that LICADHO investigates each day in Cambodia, while such cases keep on increasing so too does the boldness of perpetrators.

During 2006, LICADHO's Child Rights monitoring team received and investigated 280 cases (including 193 cases of rape, 26 cases of physical assault, 28 cases of trafficking, 11 cases of killing and 22 cases of torture and indecent assault) comprising 315 victims (293 females and 22 males).

Celebrating International Children’s Day this year, LICADHO is promoting the theme of “Working Together to Combat Trafficking, Exploitation and Abuse of Children”. Activities have been planned which highlight and promote children's rights, in particular, trafficking, the rights of children in prison and children involved in the worst forms of child labour.

LICADHO has planned a number of activities in the following eight locations. These activities will focus on the issues of child trafficking and child labour.

- Bun Rany Hunsen Thnal Bek Primary School, Chamka Leu District
- Korky Primary School, Kien Svay District
- Koh Kong's football stadium, Koh Kong Province
- Wat Preah Dak, Preah Dak Commune, Banteay Srey District, Siem Reap
- Sihanoukville Theater Hall, Sihanoukville Province
- Andong Khmer Commune, Kampong Bay District, Kampot
- Sangkat Dangkor, Khan Dangkor
- Chea Sim High School, Mukkampoul Pont District

The program will begin at 2.00 pm and will end at 9.00 pm and will include quizzes, music, performances by comedians, video-shows, traditional games, leaflet-distribution and the releasing of balloons.

On behalf of all children in prison, LICADHO, Legal Aid of Cambodia (LAC) and DanChurchAid (DCA) launched a campaign; 'Children in Prison - no place to grow up' on 31st January 2007 with the aim of highlighting the overall poor conditions within Cambodia’s prisons and in particular the key issues affecting detained children. Currently, there are 579 minors (between the ages of 13 and 18) being held in LICADHO-monitored prisons1.

As part of this campaign, various activities, such as traditional Khmer dancing, will be held on June 1st in Takhmao and CC2 prison. In addition essential materials and food will be distributed in 15 prisons by LICADHO's Prisons Project, LAC and DCA tominor prisoners, children living with their mothers in prison and pregnant women. The distribution will take place in the prisons of CC2, Kandal, Kampong Cham, Kampong Thom, Kompong Speu, Kompong Chhang, Koh Kong, Kompong Som, Pursat, Bantey Meanchey, Siem Reap, Prey Veng, Takeo, Kratie and Rattanakiri.

For more information, please contact:
 Ms Naly Pilorge Director of LICADHO Tel:+85512803650
 Mr. Chan Bunnara Child Right's Supervisor Tel:+85512545886
 Mr. Chin Lyda Prison Project Supervisor Tel:+85516751100

PDF format: Download full statement in English - Download full statement in Khmer