Mar 26, 2013
Cambodian authorities said today they had shut a foreign-run
orphanage that is suspected of beating its children and carrying out
Officials and a rights group said police in the capital, Phnom Penh, on
Friday raided the unlicensed orphanage, called Love in Action, and
rescued 21 children.
Gratianne Quade, a spokeswoman for SISHA, an anti-trafficking
organization in Cambodia, said an Australian woman who ran the orphanage
was not arrested in the Friday raid and her current whereabouts were
Poverty compels many parents in Cambodia to send their children to
orphanages. SISHA estimates that 70 percent of Cambodia's 100,000
orphans actually have at least one parent.
Um Sophanara, an official at the Social Affairs Ministry, which
oversees orphanages, confirmed the closure but declined to give details.
A SISHA statement said the raid came after several groups of children
had fled the orphanage recently and reported a variety of neglect and
abuse problems to authorities.
"The shutdown is a massive step forward, demonstrating the Cambodian
government's increased capacity to deal with abusive orphanages," SISHA
said, adding that its Australian owner was under investigation for human
trafficking, child abuse, neglect and running an unregistered
An investigation found "the food standards were subpar, some children
were visibly ill and not taken to a doctor, the facility was dirty,
sewage was blocked, and the living quarters were overcrowded," the SISHA
statement said, adding that interviews with children revealed "many
instances of physical abuse from the staff."
Love in Action's website describes it as a Christian-run facility that receives funding from church groups in Australia.
Separately, the 36-year-old director of an orphanage in northwestern
Siem Reap province was arrested Friday for repeatedly sexually abusing
two girls, 11 and 12, over a four-month period, police said.
The suspect, Mon Savuth, was detained for the alleged abuse at the
Angkor Orphanage & Education Organization, but the center - which
cares for 36 children - remains open, said Duong Thavery, the head of
the anti-trafficking police unit in Siem Reap.