Thursday, February 27, 2014
"…accused Mr. Jame Ricketson, male, aged 64, Australian, of prostitution..."
For more than five years now I have been attempting to get Brisbane-based Citipointe church to return the two young girls (Rosa and Chita) it removed illegally from their family in 2008. The church has threatened twice to sue me for defamation, has threatened to have me arrested, charged jailed and banned from coming to Cambodia and, in its latest attempt to intimidate me into silence, is accusing me of ‘prostitution’!
322 Wecker Road
28th Feb 2013
I arrived back at my hotel to find a policeman waiting with a warrant for me. It was written in Khmer, a language I do not read, though I could read the date it was issued – 26th Feb. The policeman could not speak English but indicated with hand gestures that I should sign th document with my thump print. I refused. The policeman, a pleasant man on an unpleasant errand, became a little agitated and, through a not-so-good interpreter at Reception, explained to me that an ‘organization’ had filed a complaint against me. (‘Which organization could that be, I wondered?) I had to sign the document or I would be arrested the policeman said, indicating this with his wrists held together as if hand-cuffed. Yet again I declined to sign it. I explained as best I could that I was not signing with my thumb print a document whose contents I could not read. If nothing else, I have learned from Chanti’s 31st July 2008 mistake!
The policeman accepted the logic of my argument. I had a photocopy of the original document made and took it to a professional translation service. Later in the evening I had an English version of it. The relevant part reads:
…accused Mr. Jame Ricketson, male, aged 64, Australian, of prostitution (the act frustrating the protection, assistance, or correction by the organization) committed in Phnom Penh in 2010 according to article 25 and 26 of the law on suppression against human trafficking and sexual exploitation. order Mr. Jame Ricketson, male, aged 64…to appear at Phnom Penh Municipal court at questioning room “M” 3rd floor on 07 March 2014 Time at 2:30 PM In order to question the case of prostitution (the act frustrating the protection, assistance, or correction by the organization). The above person shall bring all documents concerning with the case, if any. In case the above name fails to appear on the schedule, we will issue the arrest warrant.
It brought a smile to my face to think that the Phnom Penh police are seriously entertaining the proposition that there are customers in Cambodia wishing to pay a 64 year Australian to service them sexually. This way of financing my filmmaking had not, I must confess, occurred to me to date!
Either my translation is a very bad one or the court document is very unclear in what it is trying to communicate. Questions abound. What ‘case’ is the document referring to? Without knowing what the ‘case’ is it is a little difficult to know what documents I am supposed to bring along? And even if I did have an inkling of the ‘case’ being referred to, do I bring English versions of the documents or Khmer?
As to which ‘organization’ the court document refers to, there can only be one answer? It has Citipointe’s finger prints (thumb prints!) all over it. At last Citipointe is making good on the threat that Pastor Mulheran made to have me arrested, jailed and banned from coming to Cambodia again. In truth, Leigh, I would be delighted to be arrested for ‘prostitution’ and see the prosecution run a case based on this charge. Even in Cambodia I think that the prosecutor would find this one difficult! The story would make it into newspapers in Australia and, at last, the media might take an interest in your church having essentially stolen Chanti and Chhork’s daughters, Rosa and Chita in 2008 - with the blessing, as it turns out, of the Global Development Group.
Leigh, go to my new blog site and have a look at the photos of Chanti and Chhork’s home, of their tuk tuk, of their rice paddy, of their healthy and happy children:
What possible reason could Citipointe have, in Feb 2014, to hang onto Rosa and Chita? Yes, they are both very attractive young girls and I am sure they are great money-spinners for the church. Who could look at these two girls (I am thinking Citipointe’s ‘poverty tourists’ here), hear that they are ‘victims of human trafficking’ and not open their wallets. The poor girls! How they must have suffered! How much do you need?
You are engaged in a scam, Leigh, and I hope that my arrest (for I will certainly not turn up in court on 7th March) will lead the media, in both Cambodia and Australia, to start asking some of the questions I have been asking of your church this past five years. I have, for more than two weeks now, been asking these same questions of the Global Development Group - whose funding of the ‘SHE Rescue Home’ and other NGOs in breach of the human rights of impoverished Cambodians, raises serious doubts about GDG’s competence and integrity and questions about how $25 million of Australian tax-deductible dollars are spent each year.
My main concern now is, when pressure is brought to bear on Citipointe and you have no choice but to return Rosa and Chita to their parents, that you will then need to find two other young ‘victims of human trafficking’ to take their place. This will be done with the tacit approval of the Global Development Group though its lack of appropriate assessment and monitoring processes. It will occur with the tacit approval of the Australian Council for International Development also – an organization whose Code of Conduct reads well but is, in reality, useless in the real world. When the parents of the new ‘victims of human trafficking’ who have been recruited by Citipointe realize that they have been tricked, to whom will they turn? Even if they have heard of the Global Development Group, Geoff Armstrong will refuse to have any member of his GDG team in Phnom Penh meet and talk with them. Even if these parents have heard of ACFID, how can they possibly make a complaint to the organization given that ACFID will not accept oral representations and these parents will almost certainly be illiterate.
If there were any justice in Cambodia your ‘SHE Rescue Home’ would be closed down by the Cambodian government (along with many other sham NGOs) and you would be facing serious charges that carry a jail sentence.
I look forward to my arrest. It is the best news I have had in weeks!
I am copying this to the Global Development Group, complicit (through willful ignorance, at least) in your scam, and to ACFID, whose Code of Conduct appears to be merely for the purposes of public relations and means nothing in the real world in which the Chantis and Chhork’s of the world are exploited by greedy self-serving NGOs. These NGOs are, simultaneously, exploiting the generosity and good will of donors who give generously to NGOs such as the Global Development Group.