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NGO Pedophilia controversy heats up in Cambodia

Written By: herbrunbridge - Jun• 16•10

Two sides are squaring up in what promises to be an interesting legal battle in Cambodia over whether NGOs (Non-Governmental Organizations) are illegally entrapping visitors in an attempt to gain convictions for pedophilia.

In May, The Phom Penh Post reported that Sok Sam Ouen, executive director of the Cambodian Defenders Project, has alleged that “NGO activists and police make traps with the mother of a young girl and a sex buyer. As a result, the mother, daughter, and buyer are arrested… the duty of police is to prevent people from committing any crime, not to persuade them.” While Ouen refused to name specific NGOs, Dun Vibol, a defense attorney who has defended people suspected of pedophilia, pointed to the NGO Action Pour Les Enfants (APLE) as allegedly engaging in this practice, aided by police.

The case in question revolves around Claude Jean-Pierre Demeret, who received a three year suspended sentence for sleeping with a 16 year old girl.

According to the Post, Prior to the incident that led to Demeret’s conviction, the girl was being cared for at a shelter run by a local NGO, leading Dun Vibol to question whether the crime could have been prevented in the first place. “Demeret was being investigated by the NGO’s caseworkers and police when they saw him take the girl to sleep with,” he said. “or this case, I was wondering why the girl was freed from the shelter and came to do business as a prostitute with Demeret”

APLE is fighting this accusation through a defamation lawsuit filed with the Phnom Penh Municipal Court. In addition, APLE had lodged a complaint with the Cambodian Bar Association against Dun Vibol. Vibol, for his part, has said he would file a countersuit against APLE if he feels he himself has been defamed.

How this all plays out will be of interest to veteran Cambodia watchers. If it actually involves a trial, witnesses, including children, parents, police, and NGO personnel would probably be subpoenaed. The situation involving pedophilia in Cambodia has been an open wound for years, and allegations, finger-pointing, and innuendo have often been more evident in public discourse than facts.

This promises to be yet another interesting year, press-wise, in Cambodia.

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  1. tom selig says:

    It’s been 5 years since the last comment entered this tread. Things have changed much since then and we now have a former country director of cambodia’s most controversial anti pedophile NGO (, Mr. Hang Vibol fighting a sex child abuse court case against the french founder of the NGO Mr. Thierry Darnaudet who prefers to live outside Cambodia who was accused by the former country director in 2012 of having himself sexually abused children. Wow ! You really don’t want to be a child in Cambodia when those foreign NGO claiming to protect children end up to be the very abusers they claim to fight.

    Here’s the latest:

  2. The New York Times and Newsweek are now reporting on this issue. As reported in the May 29, 2014 issue of the Times, world renowned activist Somaly Mam, founder of the organization that bears her name, “has resigned from the foundation she started after being confronted with allegations that she and others connected to her group fabricated stories about their experiences as young victims of the sex trade.” The tale is a sordid one, and can be read at

  3. Convicted says:

    For years the NGO’s, the media, and the Cambodian government have propogated the myth that an invasion of Western pedophiles is the root cause of child sex-abuse in Cambodia. The sad truth is that 99% of the abuse of children in Cambodia is commited by Cambodians themselves (according to several independent Human Rights Organizations). Western ourists make up only 1/3 of the remaining 1 percent, yet this group has been targeted
    Each group has it’s own motives but they generally boil dawn to money. The press and most blogs are so busy vilifying the accused that little effort has been made to take a critical look at the case. The convictions are used as self-evedence of guilt. Unfortunately, the Cambodian justice system is designed to guarantee a guilty verdict. There are no juries. Child victims are confined and denied access while being interogated for weeks. (Remember the McMartin case). Under the old ‘Code Nepoleon’ one is considered guilty until proven innocent. In a reecent Siem Riep case in which the accused was acquited, the prosecuting attorney said, “The court did not have the right to acquit hime because they had failed to prove him innocent of the charges.” In The Desault case a few years ago, his Cambodian step-son was detained an interogatted. At his trial the police presented a ‘statement” from the boy but the boy recanted it. Desault was convicted anyway. To this day the boy (now in his teens) says Desault did nothing. Recently an American teacher made ABC Nightline for “abusing up to 10 girls”.Despite a two year investigation, they only came up with a misdemeanor charge of touching two girls. At his trial The first girl confessed she had been punished by her family when he caught her stealing a phone from the school. The second girl testified adamantly that he had NEVER tried to touch her. When asked why her ‘statement’ said he had, she said the police had written her statement and told her she must signit.
    Most cases in Cambodia would never make it to trial in America. In fact, if the case does have substance, the accused are almost always extradicted. If they are not extradicted it usually means the case is shit, but in Cambodia conviction is almost 100%.

  4. admin says:

    WoWasis here. There have been a tremendous number of comments on this post, many of which we’ve chosen not to print, as they were essentially redundant. We won’t be adding any more posts to this thread, but instead are suggesting what we think is a very good approach to begin to look at this critical issue. We invite you to view our new post regarding the NGO issue in Cambodia at
    – The folks at WoWasis

  5. Well wisher says:

    There have been Cambodian TV documentaries exposing APLE, many cases that have been won in court by innocent persons who paid, various accusations against Sam in many countries, so called victims coming clean with testimony to the court, cover ups of the atrocities against the alleged underage victims who are kept locked in the APLE hostel for months and years while the trial goes on under the pretense that if they are let out on the street they will fall prey to the influance of the criminals. Mothers and children are themselves charged to keep them under fear of telling the truth. To get free if you are charged you will have to pay at least 50,000 usd. This money goes to APLE through it’s lawyers, to the judges, to the prison officials, a very small fraction to the victims, and to the press. The press especially, Cambodia Daily is fed with allegations and trumped up stories that find their way into the International press through Rueters that bias the case and damage the reputation and life of an accused even before the due process of law and trial is complete. The depth and extent of this corruption is beyond belief. And the way it ruins the lives of the used victims, the false imprisoned in Prey Sar where conditions are so severe and the stigma’s attached to this type of crime drive people even to suicide or life threatening health conditions develop. Such abused prisoners are ripe candidates for paying any amount of money to get out. This is the goal of APLE, money and not fighting sex crimes. many Cambodian officials and right up to the Royal family themselves use teenage girls for enjoyment but the Cambodians are never charged like foreigners.

  6. wayne says:

    I am a victim of APLE’s injustice and set up having spent 1 year in Prey Sar prison for false charges. There are numerous cases where APLE has seduced or set up foreign tourists in underage sex scandals for the pupose of extracting huge amounts of money for themselves. They use the same victims over and over again and sometimes they are not at all underaged but have no birth records to prove anything so the claim of APLE and the so called victims is held as the truth. From within the system no one can tell the truth or they will have no chance of justice. And once outside again if you have paid to get out you never want to speak out for fear of some other trumped charges in your country of origin. Dun Vibhol is a honest man who is trying to save and crusade for innocent people exploited from the APLE. Yes there are legitimate cases and the perpetrators should be dealt with to the full scope of the law. The common understanding in the impune judical system for alleged sex offenders is guilty or innocent makes no differance, pay and go home and do not pay and get sentenced. Some Cambodian officials and courts judges are also invloved in this racket. In my case my family receieved blackmail and extortion letters from APLE to pay 40,000 USD or i would have to spend 20 years in prison. This is just the tip of the iceburg as far as the NGO-Police nexus of the real crimes commited in Cambodia.

  7. survivor says:

    Hi, I am dan and i am still alive. Surprisingly !! All of my communication has beeing hacked and hundreds of spam was attached to each email. I would not be surprised if the .org in question is trying to download childporn on my pc. that would give them the chance to get me out of their way and continue their evil cause. Krampz don’t worry i’ll be fine and will find a way to get in touch with you one way or the other.
    thanks for your help to reveal the truth. You have beeing punished and stick to the truth and you have 5 years of restrictions etc. , no passport.
    I believe one has to grant a person to regain his life after the punishment.

  8. dan unsel says:

    I have just recently found a contact to a french guy which was arrested in sihanoukville in 2008 and sentenced to 18 Month/Jail. He became one of Thierry Darnaudet’s best friends ! I have obtained more than 85 email exchanges between the pedophile and darnaudet aswell as exchanges between darnaudet and APLE’s country director for cambodia samleang seila which proofs the corruption scams this org has created in cambodia. They and their more than 50 man/woman strong snitch army make every white male a target In the cambodian enviroment their business model is thriving. For all of those that are married to a khmer woman and have a child it’s pure hell.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Darnaudet – ain’t that the guy who works without visa in India and illegally has at least 2 passports to do so?
    Why do French and Indian authorities not look into this guys activities????

  10. Cambo says:

    Interesting is, this French NGO “President” is a very questionable figure himself not only for attempting to commit suicide and being accused of child abuse himself. He works in India without proper work permit, using 2 passports, entering India as ‘tourist’, staying max of 6 months, exiting, then re-entering on a different passport and visa, in order to stay another 6 moths. He is doing this since 20 years+.
    Who sponsors individuals like that?
    Does anyone know the legal situation of this in India?
    For what I researched, using more than 1 French passport is a crime as well.
    Why nobody checks on this?
    I happen to know what “educational background” he has – NONE, not even a High School Diploma!!!

  11. Anonymous says:

    Matthew Harland, 38, was arrested in the capital Phnom Penh last May for buying sex from an 11-year-old and a 12-year-old in 2006.

    Phnom Penh Municipal Court also ordered Harland to pay each of the victims one million riel ($250) in compensation.

    “The verdict offers justice to the victims,” said Peng Maneth, a lawyer for the girls.

    “But it is regrettable that the court did not order him to be deported after serving the sentence. He is still young and has job opportunities in Cambodia and he could cause more harm to other children.”

    A British police report said Harland jumped bail from Britain in 2005 after being arrested on child pornography charges, according to Cambodian police.

    Cambodia launched an anti-paedophilia push in 2003 to try to shake off its reputation as a sex predators’ haven. Dozens of foreigners have since been jailed for child sex crimes or deported to face trial in their home countries.

  12. Dan Unsel says:

    PROTECT is a joint invention program of french national Thierry Darnaudet’s NGO and spanish national andres torres of spanish NGO (see also their impressive Worldship fundraising project and

    Both claim to be active in childprotection but seem to be more oriented in money making and polarizing societies (in Cambodia they employ more than 50 local spies to watch over every white male visitor or expat in cambodia, which has created a poisoned atmosphere in the country).
    Thierry Darnaudet has twice tried to commit suicide in 2007 in India (Kolkata and Puri) which led to the speculation that he himself has abused children in his children home in India. Meanwhile many reports of foreigner arrests in cambodia on accusation of childabuse have turned out to be false or setup by the joint operation of the aple cambodia org., the police and some street children in order to extract money from the foreigner. I am not surprised that this business modell has now found its way to not only france and belgium but also spain and god knows where else.

    If you dare to speak out against these people you will immediately be accused of beeing a pedophile yourself or at least a sympathiser which will immediately discredit you in your society. Since the above orgs work in great secrecy you will find it hard to produce hard evidence about their wronged programs.

    Not to allow any misunderstandings here: everyone (male or female) that sexually or otherwise abuses a child should face the hard reality of the law. no one, not even Thierry Darnaudet or Andres Torres should be allowed to stand outside the law.

  13. ana says:

    hello good afternoon I write from Spain I’m trying to find any association found of NGOs working in camboia and are dedicated to accuse individuals on issues of pedophilia unfairly without any kind of tests I have a friend incarcerated here in Spain for that alleged crime for which he PROTECT accused the NGO without any proof just the accusation of a monk help please know there are people unjustly accused and who would coach these NGOs well children to testify against innocent people by

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