Tracking Suspected American Pedophiles in Cambodia

"I have young daughter, and I am very emotionally touched and I am really sad when I hear any girl talking about sexual abuse," said APLE agent Samlean Seila. "I'm really concerned about my daughter, and I don't want my daughter to be sexually abused like that so it's really touching me."

The girl's mother said she was totally unaware of the alleged abuse -- until now.

"When I found out, I wanted to die," she said. "I only allowed my daughter to study with Harvey because we thought he was a good person, and my family is poor." And Johnson's alleged victims are just some of the thousands of Cambodian children believed to have had their innocence stolen.

Negotiating for a Young Girl

We learned it could be astonishingly easy to essentially buy a young girl from her family in Cambodia. We meet a 15-year-old girl selling water on the street. She introduced us to her mother. In broad daylight, she said, she's willing to make a deal.

They are speaking in Khmer. APLE investigators translated for us.

"So are you saying that if I wanted to marry your daughter that would be OK?" I asked.

"It's OK, it's OK," she said.

When we come back later, we put the final touches on the negotiation.

"Can I get a sense of how much that would be? Are we talking two to three hundred dollars a month?" I asked.

"It's up to you," she told us.

"Has your daughter been with a man before? Has her daughter been with any men before me?"

"No, no, no. If you don't trust, you can take her to the hospital ... for medical examination," the mother said.

Breaking the Cycle of Sexual Exploitation

How could a mother so casually agree to sell her child into sexual servitude? Poverty is part of the answer. However, evangelicals we spoke to believe there's something more at work in Cambodia: the ghosts of history.

In the 1970s, this country saw the largest genocide since the Holocaust. Under the rule of Pol Pot, Cambodia's educated, wealthy and religious communities were all wiped out. Children were forced to spy on and even execute their parents. Nearly 3 million people died.

American Pastor Don Brewster pointed out that those children were now today's parents. He said Cambodia now suffers from a "moral vacuum."

"It's materialism and greed," Brewster told us. "In a country that's so poor that has hardly any television anyways, these families will take a loan to buy a TV, which they know they can never pay. They can't feed themselves, never mind buy a TV, but they know, 'Hey I've got my ace in the hole, I can sell my daughter.'"

Brewster left his congregation in California to move to Cambodia four years ago, where he fights child sex trafficking full-time. His group, Agape Restoration Center, has opened a community center in the place of a former brothel.

"You look at those kids in there, those young girls," he said, "probably 90 percent of them are gonna be trafficked tonight ... and every night."

Brewster also runs a shelter for former child prostitutes like Bella, who told us she was forced to have sex every day.

A group called the International Justice Mission rescued Bella and brought her to the shelter, where she can attempt to regain a piece of her childhood.

"I can study and I can get love and I can have ...," she said, before breaking down in tears.

CLICK HERE to learn more about what you can do to help prevent sexual exploitation.

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