Siem Reap Provincial Court yesterday charged a woman who allegedly recruited five underage girls to beg money from foreign nationals or have sex with them in Siem Riep city.
Colonel Chea Heng, provincial anti-human trafficking and juvenile protection department chief, identified the accused as Peth Mao, 23, living in Svay Dangkum commune.
He said she was charged with soliciting for child prostitution and unlawful recruitment for exploitation and faces up to 15 years in jail if convicted. Ms Mao was arrested on Monday and is now in prison pending trial.
Captain Pov Sreng, a department police officer, said that according to police investigations, Ms Mao in May recruited five girls aged between 10 and 15 years who were drug users from poor families in the city’s outskirts to work and stay with her at her rental house in the commune.
He said that every night between 7pm and 3am, the accused would take them to beg from foreigners frequenting pubs in the city.
Capt Sreng said that Ms Mao, who could speak some English, also offered the girls for sex and charged each client between $10 and $20 per session.
He noted that when she brought the girls back to her house, the accused made them pay between $2.50 and $5 each for food and accommodation from money they earned either from begging or having sex with clients.
“She was arrested on Monday night by the provincial anti-human trafficking and juvenile protection department at her rental house in Svay Dangkum commune while was collecting payment from the victims,” he said. “After the arrest, police rescued the five girls and sent them to the provincial rehabilitation centre.”