PHNOM PENH —
Agape International Missions, an American anti-trafficking NGO that was threatened with closure after it assisted a CNN reporter with a controversial article on the child sex industry in Cambodia, has moved to distance itself from the media outlet.
Don Brewster, the group’s executive director, said his contribution to the report sought to highlight the work of the Cambodian government to combat the child sex trade.
He apologized for his part in any offense caused by the CNN report.
“I would like to express my deep sorrow for any hurt or harm inflicted on Cambodia and its people that resulted from the CNN Freedom Project broadcast,” he said.
“For this, I offer my heartfelt apology,” he said, adding that he had written to Prime Minister Hun Sen to apologize as well.
In the report, CNN interviewed three Cambodian nationals of Vietnamese ethnicity who were identified as Cambodian in the report, prompting the criticism from the government. CNN then changed the headline of the report from “The Cambodian girls sold for sex by their mothers” to “Life after trafficking: The girls sold for sex by their mothers.”
Interior Minister Sar Kheng said that the case against AIM would proceed to the courts, however, Gen. Khieu Sopheak, interior spokesman, suggested that if Brewster made a public apology, AIM may be given special consideration.
“There should be an official [apology] to the prime minister and the whole nation. CNN should correct the text of the report since they broadcast the news,” he said.