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Last Updated: Sunday, 12 December, 2004, 06:35 GMT
Rights group in Cambodia protest
By Guy de Launey
BBC News correspondent, Phnom Penh

Map of Cambodia
A women's rights organisation in Cambodia says it will protest to the prime minister over what it calls the abduction of more than 80 sex workers.

The women were staying in a safe house run by the group after a police raid on the hotel where they worked.

An armed gang took most of them away from the shelter on Wednesday.

It is not clear what has happened to them since and the biggest raid of the year by anti-human trafficking police has turned into an embarrassing mess.

On Saturday a group of women who claim to have been at the safe house protested outside the US embassy.

They said they had been taken away from the hotel against their will.

Protest letter

Female staff at the Chhay Hour II hotel in Phnom Penh have denied they are sex workers.

The management at the hotel say the women were not abducted from the safe house, but escaped from the facility to return to work.

The organisation which ran the safe house, Afesip, is not convinced by the claims.

They say a two-month long investigation by the anti-trafficking police confirmed that the hotel was being run as a brothel.

Afesip believe their operations and the work of the police are being undermined by high-level officials.

Their spokesperson said that if these people are confident and powerful enough to break into our centre and take these girls then they feel confident enough to take all these girls back to work.

On Monday Afesip will send a letter of protest to Prime Minister Hun Sen.

The following day they will hold a news conference in Bangkok.

They say they no longer feel comfortable operating in Cambodia.

Cambodian sex workers abducted
10 Dec 04 |  Asia-Pacific
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04 Feb 04 |  Asia-Pacific
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23 Jan 03 |  Asia-Pacific

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