On Friday, July 5th, officers of the Phnom Penh Police and AIM SWAT arrested a woman for using Facebook to traffick 5 women and girls as young as 14 years old for sex. This is one of our first online child sex trafficking investigations and highlights a new method that the traffickers are using in an attempt to avoid detection and sell children.
After receiving a tip that the woman was using Facebook to seek customers, a covert surveillance operation and investigation were launched and confirmed that she was sending pictures of the girls via social media for her customers to choose and buy. Following this information, officers arrested the woman and rescued the 3 minors and 2 adult women who were in the process of being sold at a local guesthouse.
The victims confirmed they were being sold for sex to the profit of the suspect and all have been safely transferred to partner aftercare shelters. They will be represented by our legal team in the upcoming court proceedings, while the suspect has been charged with child sex trafficking-related offenses and will await trial from prison.
This case is a reminder that while progress is happening, the fight isn’t over yet.
As traffickers evolve in the struggle to keep this industry alive, we too will evolve to combat and prevent its success.