Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Friday charged an American man
with the purchase of a child for prostitution, for alleged sexual relations
with a 13-year-old girl.
Jason Baumbach, 40, is accused of paying school fees for the
girl in exchange for sex, a crime that carries up to 15 years in prison under a
Deputy Prosecutor Sok Kalyan said Friday Baumbach was
charged under Article 34 of the "Law on Suppression of Human Trafficking
and Sexual Exploitation," which prohibits sexual conduct with a minor
while promising or providing money or anything of value to a minor or
Baumbach was arrested at his Tuol Kork home on Tuesday.
Cambodia has been working to improve a tarnished image as a
haven for pedophiles and sexual predators, and a US State Department
trafficking report issued earlier this year said authorities had made some
progress toward combating the crime.
At the home of the girl, in a rundown apartment building in
Prampi Makara district, parents declined to be interviewed Friday, but they
showed reporter a picture of their daughter, who is now under the protective
custody of a non-governmental organization.
Teng Manet, the lawyer of the family, alleged Friday the girl would visit Baumbach to receive money for school and would be invited
into his room, where she was raped.
Brig. Gen. Bith Kimhong, head of the Ministry of Interior's
anti-trafficking and juvenile protection department, said Friday that police
have arrested seven foreigners and 13 Cambodians since January on suspicion of
Of the foreigners, three were American and arrested in Phnom Penh and four were from other countries
and arrested in the beach resort town of Sihanoukville.