The New York Times' man about the world had a dramatic evening last night as he accompanied police on a raid to shut down a brothel trafficking in underage girls. He shared the blow-by-blow with his Twitter followers, including a tense standoff between police and armed soldiers defending the brothel's owners.
Kristof has been reporting from Southeast Asia this week and had earlier tweeted that he was meeting with Somaly Mam, an Camboidan activist and former child slave who now works to rescue children herself though her own organization. Shortly after midnight Eastern time, Kristof announced to his followers that he would be going on a raid with police to shut down a brothel using underage sex slaves. What followed for the next couple of hours was a series of dramatic messages as the situation got very tense for the rescuers and Kristof.
According to his tweets, the brothel — which had girls has young as 13, all being held against their will — was run by a Cambodian military officer and his wife, prompting concerns from police that there would be resistance from the army. That exactly what happened, as armed soldiers arrived, demanding the release of the brothel's owners. Kristof and the social workers were told to leave town for the own safety as a standoff ensued.
"Prosecutor refusing to release military officer accused of owning brothel. Tells soldiers they can shoot him if they dare."
Luckily, the story ended well. We can hopefully expect a fuller recounting of the tale in The New York Times in the coming days.
"Prosecutor faced down soldiers. Military officer & wife, alleged brothel owners in N. Cambodia, taken to police station"
You can re-read the story at @NickKristof, but we've saved the relevant tweets below. (Start at the bottom.)