Cambodia orphanage shut down after reports of abuse


Two 8-month-old Cambodian orphans.


Rob Elliott

An Australian-run orphanage in Cambodia suspected of abusing the children in its care by beating and neglecting them has been shut down by local authorities.

Local officials and staff from Australian anti-trafficking group South East Asia Investigations into Social and Humanitarian Activities (SISHA) raided the Love in Action orphanage in Phnom Penh last Friday.

A government spokesman told CNN the orphanage "did not meet requirements" and was under investigation by the courts.

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Authorities rescued 21 children, including babies, during the raid, but seven remain unaccounted for. The orphanage is now under investigation for human trafficking, child abuse, neglect and running an unregistered institution.

Other children had previously escaped from the orphanage — five on Feb. 26 and seven on March 14 — and reported abuse and neglect to authorities, leading to Friday's raid.

"The shutdown is a massive step forward, demonstrating the Cambodian government's increased capacity to deal with abusive orphanages," SISHA said.

Ruth Golder and Tracey Golder, a mother and daughter team who were operating the orphanage, had not yet been arrested as of Sunday.

Love in Action's website says it is largely funded by Christian groups in Australia.