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Experts Urge Vigilance Against Child Sex Abuse

Sex abuse in Cambodia is on the rise, according to experts, who warn parents to be wary of foreigners who may trick their children.

“Parents should be careful, because they use money, free gifts, English teaching and other [deceptions] to abuse children,” said Am Sam Ath, head of monitoring for the rights group Licadho, as a guest on “Hello VOA” Thursday.

“Parents should not see the gifts, money or material goods as important,” said Nuon Phanith, a lawyer for the group Action for the Children, who also appeared on the show.

Child sex abuse was punishable to up to 25 years in prison, Nuon Phanith said.

Both agreed that sex abuse cases were on the rise and could happen to either boys or girls, a result of poverty, chance, business propositions by parents, migration of children and poor education.

They appealed to common people to help the government curb the practice.

“If parents allow this to happen, that means the parent is associated with the foreigner; then the parent will be in jail,” Am Sam Ath said.

Sexual abuse can affect a child’s life, education, health and reputation, Am Sam Ath said, adding that some families had left their hometowns following instances of abuse that led to shame in front of neighbors.