Cambodian charity school partly funded by Aussie donors shut down after director 'arranged foreign volunteers to sexually abuse teenage students'

  • The director of a charity school in Cambodia has been charged with procuring children for the purpose of prostitution
  • Long Ven, of the Underprivileged Children School in Siem Reap, was arrested this week
  • The alleged victims are believed to be two 17-year-old boys

By Sally Lee

Long Ven, the director of the Underprivileged Children School in Siem Reap, has been charged with arranging for foreign volunteers to sexually abuse teenage students

Long Ven, the director of the Underprivileged Children School in Siem Reap, has been charged with arranging for foreign volunteers to sexually abuse teenage students

The legitimacy of orphanages and children's charities in developing countries are in question after an unregistered English language school in Cambodia linked to sexual abuse claims has been deceiving donors in order to raise funds.

Long Ven, the director of the Underprivileged Children School in Siem Reap, has been charged with arranging for foreign volunteers to sexually abuse teenage students.

The 33-year-old has been receiving donations from those including Australians. He has been charged with procuring children for the purpose of prostitution and could face up to 10 years' behind bars.

The nationality of the volunteers, who allegedly abused the students, are unknown.

Former Victorian policeman James McCabe, 45, is the Cambodian Children Unit's operations manager helped investigate the case which led to the ultimate arrest of Ven this week.

McCabe, who also works for the Cambodian Children's Fund, expects more charges will be laid on Ven.

'This gives us time to go forensically through the roughly 6500 messages on Facebook and the laptop computers and cameras,' he told The Phnom Penh Post.

It is believed the alleged victims are two 17-year-old boys who were among nine students found at a raid at Ven's apartment, police said.

The 33-year-old director has been receiving donations from those including Australians. He has been charged with procuring children for the purpose of prostitution and could face up to 10 years' behind bars

The 33-year-old director has been receiving donations from those including Australians. He has been charged with procuring children for the purpose of prostitution and could face up to 10 years' behind bars

The school's website lists one of its main goals as ensuring 'that most underprivileged Cambodia children are not denied an opportunity acquiring knowledge'

The school's website lists one of its main goals as ensuring 'that most underprivileged Cambodia children are not denied an opportunity acquiring knowledge'

'We request you, to kindly donate generously for this noble cause for the better tomorrow for the kids,' Ven wrote on the school's website

'We request you, to kindly donate generously for this noble cause for the better tomorrow for the kids,' Ven wrote on the school's website

The school website lists one of its main goals as ensuring 'that most underprivileged Cambodia children are not denied an opportunity acquiring knowledge'.

Ven, also known asn 'Waha', appeals to donors in his first blog post in 2009 by writing:

'We are making every effort to impart educational knowledge to Cambodian kids in particular and Cambodians in general. So that they will have hope in the future. In order to meet the world's challenges and to be good leaders of tomorrow. And we encourage more volunteers to join us.'

He continues to write that the school has dormitories for students living far from home but they face enormous financial challenges and shortages for basic needs such as stationery, clothes and food.

'We request you, to kindly donate generously for this noble cause for the better tomorrow for the kids. So that we may be able to give the hopeless underprivileged children a hopeful and better future in life. Please donate no matter how small it may be.'

The Sydney Morning Herald reported that the school includes boarding facilities for foreign volunteers, many of which are donors and gap-year students from Australia.

There has been increasing criticism surrounding Cambodia and other developing countries running so-called 'orphan tourism' and 'volunteer tourism'.

While most of Cambodia's 600 orphanages are seen to be well-established, it has been reported by welfare groups that in some cases children are kept to look poor in front of tourists.

The school has since been closed.

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