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Shock as well-known travel identity held on sex charges

August 11, 2014 Corporate, Headline News No Comments Email Email

egtmedia59The arrest of a well-known Australian travel industry figure for allegedly paying for sex with two teenage girls in Cambodia has shocked the travel industry.

Daily Mail Australia, the Australian online version of Britain’s mass-circulation Daily Mail newspaper, carried a story about the Australian travel agent’s arrest by Cambodian police.

The two girls involved are said to be aged 16 and 17.

The story included a photo of a suspect being arrested, with his face pixelated. The story was also carried in the online versions of several Asia-based newspapers, and by China’s Xinhua news agency, the state press agency of the People’s Republic of China.

The suspect, a Sydney travel industry veteran, was reported to be Cambodian country manager for the respected company Trails of Indochina, when police arrested him in Siem Reap.

All traces of the suspect’s presence had vanished from the Trails of Indochina website at the weekend. ASEAN travel news publication TTR Weekly said Trails of Indochina had since named a new country manager Cambodia.

Cambodia’s Law on Suppression of Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation, passed in 2008, defines a minor as a person under the age of 18 years. It is illegal in Cambodia to pay for sex with someone aged under 18, though the age of consent more generally in Cambodia is reported to be 15.

In all Australian jurisdictions, the minimum age at which a person can engage in prostitution is 18 years.

China’s Xinhua news agency quoted Duong Thavary, chief of the Siem Reap Provincial Anti-Human Trafficking and Juvenile Protection Police, saying that the  “country manager of a big tour company in Cambodia”, had been arrested “on suspicion of purchasing child prostitution from two underage girls”.

The suspect was said to have been arrested following an investigation by Cambodia’s anti-human-trafficking police squad in conjunction with the anti-exploitation non-governmental organisation Action Pour Les Enfants (APLE).

APLE administration chief Vando Khoem told the Daily Mail that the suspect would be transferred to Siem Reap Provincial Prison when formal charges were laid and would likely face trial in Siem Reap court in six to 12 months.

There is no suggestion that Trails of Indochina or anyone else connected with that company had any involvement or knew anything about the alleged activities.

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