A 53-year-old man went on trial yesterday at Phnom Penh Municipal Court for allegedly selling underage girls to have sex with men.
Presiding Judge Seng Leang identified the accused as Diep Taem, a motodop driver from Por Senchey district.
Judge Leang said the accused was charged with selling, buying or exchanging a person with purpose under the Law on Suppression of Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation. He faces from 15 to 20 years in prison if convicted.
Deputy Prosecutor Kham Sophary said that on October 5, 2017, the accused, who often gave taxi rides to girls working at KTV clubs, brought a 16-year-old girl to a man at a guesthouse in Kakab commune.
Mr Sophary said the man paid $2,000 to spend three days with the girl at the guesthouse, with at least $900 going to the accused.
Mr Sophary said that on October 12, 2017, the accused brought two more teenage girls to have sex with a man in the commune again. He was then arrested by anti-human trafficking and municipal police.
“He was arrested red-handed as he brought two underage girls to sell them to have sex with wealthy men,” he said. “After his arrest, police rescued the two victims from him.”
During yesterday’s trial, the accused claimed he was not a human trafficker but only a taxi driver aiding the families of the girls, who were selling their virginity for income.
He said he was only paid his taxi service fee for driving the girls to the guesthouses, work he had been doing for at least five years.
“I was a motorbike taxi driver,” he said. “I was not a human being broker.”
“The karaoke girls hired me to drive them to meet and sleep with their customers at the hotels or guesthouses,” he added. “They contacted their customers by themselves. I just sold my driving service only. I did not know those men.”
A verdict is June 12.