This reportage delves into the dark and complex world of child exploitation in Cambodia, shining a light on the tireless efforts of the NGO Action Pour Les Enfants (APLE) in their covert operations to uncover both foreign and domestic networks that prey on vulnerable children. Established in 2003 in Phnom Penh, APLE began by assisting police in investigating street-based child sexual abuse and providing legal support to victims and their families. Recognizing the increasing severity of child exploitation, particularly in areas like Sihanoukville and Siem Reap, APLE expanded its operations to include social support programs in collaboration with partner NGOs, adapting to the evolving landscape of this grave issue.
The reportage captures the multifaceted challenges faced by APLE in a country grappling with poverty, limited education, and minimal law enforcement. It underscores the vulnerability of children from impoverished backgrounds and the alarming rise of sexual abuse, often perpetrated by travelling sex offenders. Through interviews, on-ground operations, and insights into APLE’s strategic interventions, this reportage offers a poignant and revealing look into the efforts to combat child exploitation in Cambodia, highlighting the NGO’s critical role in this ongoing battle.