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Friday, November 04, 2011

US man found guilty of abusing Cambodian boy, sentenced to 4 years in jail

By Associated Press


PHNOM PENH, Cambodia — A Cambodian court has sentenced an American man to four years in prison on charges of sexually abusing a 15-year-old boy.

Judge Suos Sam Ath of Phnom Penh Municipal Court said James D’Agostino was found guilty Friday of paying for sexual services from a minor. He paid tuition for the boy, who stayed at his home.

D’Agostino, 56, denied the accusation. He was a volunteer doctor at a children’s hospital in the Cambodian capital and previously worked as a pediatric emergency doctor in Syracuse, N.Y. He was arrested in February after the boy told authorities about his reported actions.

Cambodia has long been a magnet for foreign pedophiles because of poverty and poor law enforcement. In recent years police and courts have increasingly targeted sex offenders.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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Cambodia: UN stepping up emergency response to severe floods

            Millions of people have been affected by floods ravaging many countries in Asia

 4 November 2011 – The United Nations reported today that it is increasing its joint efforts with Cambodian authorities and aid providers to offer food assistance to some of the thousands of people that have been displaced by severe flooding recently.

Some 240,000 people have been displaced by heavy rains and according to the World Food Programme (WFP), 10 per cent of the rice crops have been destroyed and 265,000 hectares of rice fields have bee damaged, raising the price of rice by 12 per cent.

“Cambodia’s worst floods in more than a decade have forced people from their homes and destroyed their crops,” said WFP’s country director in Cambodia, Jean-Pierre de Margerie, in a statement released by the agency.

“Now, with the price of rice on the rise, the poorest households face the prospect of not having enough to eat. Food support is needed now, and will be needed in the months ahead, as people recover from this disaster.”

To mitigate the impact of the floods, the WFP launched an emergency operation in collaboration with the Government and the non-governmental organization (NGO) partners, which consists of distributing 50 kg of rice to each family, and aims to reach some 60,000 people.

The WFP is also working with Cambodian authorities to assess the number of people that need food assistance, how long they will need it for, and the time it will take them to recover.

During a news briefing in Geneva, spokesperson for the WFP Gaelle Sévenier said a one year plan to help the 150,000 most vulnerable victims would also be put in place, and added that the WFP had already received $2.5 million for emergency funding for operations in the country, with $1.5 million more to come.
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New protections called for Cambodian maids working in Malaysia

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (http://www.catholic.org/)

Many young girls are sent to training academies by families who incur huge debt

Many Cambodians who work in Malaysia as domestic help, such as maids or nannies, face untold human rights abuses such as abuse, torture and sexual assault. Human Rights Watch say that both Cambodia and Malaysia must do much more to halt the mistreatment of those who work abroad.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Twenty-eight women were interviewed by the group and nearly half reported suffering physical or psychological abuse from their employers. Another three women had claimed that they had been raped, one by her employer.

The nation of Cambodia has well-connected recruitment firms that forcibly confine young women in poor conditions in training centers for months before they are sent to work abroad. These firms provide cash advances to these women's families, as well as food and livestock. These recruitment firms also charge huge training fees, which takes these women months to work off.

"They Deceived Us At Every Step," is the name of the report documenting these abuses.

"The report is basically a comprehensive account of what happens when women decide to travel from Cambodia to Malaysia," Human Rights Watch's women's rights researcher Jyotsna Poudyal says. "So it documents the abuses and exploitation at each step of the migration process. Our concerns are basically about women who decide to migrate must be protected, and this report looks into the recruitment steps, and then comes up with concrete recommendations of what could be done to improve the situation."

Malaysia and Cambodia should abide by, and then ratify the International Labor Organization's convention on domestic workers, which protects workers from violence and exploitation, says the group.

Furthermore, Phnom Penh must draft a comprehensive migration law that addresses issues such as debt bondage, child recruitment and other abuses common to the recruitment side of the industry.

What makes this very ugly scenario possible stems from economic necessity. A third of all Cambodians live below the poverty line. There are very few jobs available for the estimated 300,000 young people who enter the labor market each year.

The Cambodian government announced a halt to sending domestic workers to Malaysia last month. Poudyal says the suspension is most likely temporary, and that Phnom Penh has shown little interest in tackling the problem.

"From our point of view it seems that the government is keen to promote migration, but at the same time extremely reluctant to extend basic protections to its workers," added Poudyal. "So I would say that if Cambodia is serious about being a big exporter of labor then they have to resolve these issues in the long term."

It is a measure that must be done. Indonesia barred its citizens from working in Malaysia two years ago after reports of similar abuses. That action forced Malaysia to ensure that Indonesian domestic workers were awarded protections.

Cambodians are currently excluded.
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