Wednesday, December 21, 2016

# 214 Scott Neeson's Cambodian Children's Fund scams impoverished families

Mey Mey, aged 3

Dear Scott Neeson

Meet Leng Kak, aged 45, with the 2nd youngest of her 8 children, Mey Mey, aged 3. 

Leng Kak & Mey Mey

Mey Mey’s family has generated $45,000 (at least) in sponsorship monies for CCF over the past five years. 6 of Kak’s 8 children are back working in the Phnom Penh rubbish dump. The family has nothing to show for CCF’s 5 year intervention in the lives of the children and their mother.

Mey Mey

Here is Kak off to work in the Phnom Penh rubbish dump, carrying  the tools of her scavenger’s trade.

Leng Kak leaves for work

6 of Kak’s 8 children work with her in the dump.

Leng Kak's 8 children

You may recognize Seang Kry. She, along with 4 of her siblings, were in residential care with the Cambodian Children’s Fund for five years.

Seang Kry

Seang Kry is too young to work 11 hours a day, 7 days a week in the dump.  She only works a few days a week.

Her 11 year old sister, Seang Ly is not too young, however. She works in the dump every day.

Seang Kry & Seang Ly

And nor is her 15 year old  brother, Vouern too young. He can earn between $2 & $3 a day scavenging and help support the family.


Sister Seang Vy, aged 14, is not too young either to work full time in the dump. She and Seang Ly were in CCF residential care until earlier this year.

Seang Ly & Seang Vy

You may recognize Seang Vy. CCF staff told her earlier this year her that if she wanted to stay in residential care she would have to work, unpaid, taking care of CCF children as a nanny. (Forcing kids to work for no wage is but one of the many scams you are involved in.)

Behind Seang Vy and Seang Ly in this photo, sister Seang Kry plays with her friends on top of bags of scavenged plastic.

Seang Vy & Seang Ly

The buyers of recycled plastic will only pay for clean plastic. One of Kak’s jobs is cleaning the plastic. To do this she must stand, waist deep, in stagnant toxic water. 

Leng Kak cleans scavenged plastic

Below the waist infections are common. The family has no money  to go to the doctor so infections (common in the line of work the family is engaged it) must simply be endured.

This is Sopaul, not a member of Leng Kak’s family but a neighbor in the small community that lives by the dump. 


Aged 67, Sopaul works full time as a scavenger, and has done for 26 years. 

Sopaul & Raksmey

She had a badly infected finger recently. Unable to afford to visit a doctor she cut a hole in a lime and put her finger in it to avoid further infection. 


Sopaul has not received one cent of assistance from CCF’s ‘Granny Program’.

Kak’s youngest daughter Meng Hong's prospects for the future do not look good. 

Meng Hong, aged 2, Leng Kak's youngest child

Nor do those of sister Mey Mey.

Mey Mey, aged 3

When they are old enough they will join their siblings working in the dump or in some other similarly demeaning form of slave labour.

The Cambodian Children’s Fund has played a significant role in the lives of the members of this family for the past half decade. The question is: “Has CCF helped this family in any meaningful way?”

Seang Ly, Leng Kak, Mey Mey, Seang Vy

Some maths will help here:

Whilst in residential care each of Kak’s  5 children had a sponsor paying $150 a month to CCF.

Sponsors were paying $750 a month to care for 5 children.

Kak’s 5 children were generating $9,000 a year of income for CCF.

All 5 children were attending government schools. These are free of charge, so their education cost CCF nothing.

All 5 of Kak’s children were sleeping at night in dormitories – 2, 3 and 4 kids to one bed. And the children were placed in different residential care facilities, as is CCF’s policy. Keeping families together is not a top CCF priority.

Seang Ly

If CCF’s figures are to be believed (in fact, they cannot be trusted!) it was costing you $1,800 per annum to take care of one of Kak’s children – close to double the per capita income in Cambodia.

In the meantime Kak was working 11 hours a day, 7 days a week, to support herself, Meng Hong and Mey Mey. Her income for the year was less than $1000.

CCF boasts of its ‘Outreach’ program. In the case of Kak’s family, this amounted to ‘Rice Support’ - $250 of rice each year.

Leng Kak,Mey Mey & Seang Kry

Some more maths:

CCF Sponsors supported 5 of Kak’s children to the tune of $9,000 a year.

CCF gives $250 or this $9000 to Kak to help her, Meng Hong and Mey Mey

Not satisfied with the financial windfall Kak's family represented, CCF  decided that 14 year old Seang Vy should pay for her keep by working for free as a CCF nanny – taking care of young children you have removed from families similar to her own and which you pass off to gullible sponsors and donors as kids whose parents don’t love them, parents who are violent, alcoholics etc.

Mey Mey, Seang Vy & Seng Ly

You do not actually call them ‘orphans’, Scott, but the message you put out in the media is that were it not for you these kids would have no responsible, caring and loving adult to take care of them. This is a lie. Cambodian parents love their children, as do parents all over the world. Yes, some parents are alcoholics and some beat their children. This is so in our own countries also. We do not, as a result, allow NGOs to remove these children from families just because you feel like doing so and because it is good for the CCF  business model: the more kids in residential care, the more sponsors, the greater the capital inflows!

Kak did not like the idea of 14 year old Seangy Vy working as a CCF nanny slave so pulled her out of residential care earlier this year. 

Seang Vy, holding mandarin, with sisters Mey Mey, Seangf Kry & Seng Ky

Forcing a 14 year old girl to work for no income for CCF is not only a blatant human rights abuse; it is also against Cambodian law. This means nothing in Cambodia, of course,  if you have a lot of money and can pay corrupt Cambodian officials to turn a blind eye to such abuses.

Seang Vy pours condensed milk into bread roll. A treat!

The same applies with the fraudulent ‘contracts’ you force parents to sign. These phony ‘contracts’ (parents are not allowed to keep a copy) are, in reality, just another way of intimidating parents into complying with your dictatorial wishes and empire building. If they do not, parents risk having their children ejected from CCF and having to repay all the monies allegedly spent by CCF in the children's care, as is stated clearly in the CCF ‘contract’ they have signed. These ‘contracts’ are illegal, as you know, but fortunately you have, in Alan Lemon, corrupt former Australian Federal Police officer with legal training to administer this side of your business.

Forcing children at CCF to work for no wage is but one of many of the human rights abuses you practice. Fortunately for you, Cambodia’s human rights organizations do not rate the illegal removal and detention of children from their families very high on their list of human rights abuses to write reports about!

None of Kak’s children are now resident in CCF. All but Meng Hong and Mey Mey are working in the rubbish dump.   This is necessary if the family is to survive. None of the children are going to school. The family has absolutely nothing to show for its 5 year involvement with CCF. CCF’s coffers, on the other hand, have swelled by $45,000.

Kak’s family is a very close and loving one. Their problem is not an alcoholic father, parents who beat their children or any of the other justifications you give out for removing children and incarcerating them in a CCF residential care. Kak’s family’s problem is poverty, pure and simple. Extreme poverty. The only employment available to them is working in the rubbish dump.

The $9,000 that CCF received in one year of ‘caring’ for 5 children would have bought a house and block of land for the family back in the province from which they came.

The $18,000 that CCF received in two years of caring for 5 children could, in addition to buying a house and land for the family, have been invested in helping it become self-sufficient in a business enterprise of some kind. And imagine what an investment of $45,000 could have achieved in guaranteeing the futures of Kak’s 8 children!?

Instead, after several years of CCF intervention in the lives of the members of this family they are all working in the rubbish (except for Hong Meng and Mey Mey), are suffering from malnutrition, have no access to medical care, are not going to school and are destined to live lives of extreme poverty.

Families such as Kak’s are easy prey to the likes of CCF. 

Seang Ly takes Meng Hong and Raksa for a ride!

Sponsors and donors feel great sympathy for kids like these who don’t have enough to eat, kids who live in slums, kids who have to work in a rubbish dump. Their hearts melt (as they should) when they see photos of young children who must work in a rubbish dump to help their family survive. Wallets are opened. Money flows into CCF’s coffers, photos of the kids appear smiling on CCF’s Facebook site and in the interminable hagiographic articles that you manage to get published about what a hero you are to have given up your $1 million a year Hollywood job to rescue kids from the rubbish dump.

What never appears in any of these articles is just how much money you have made exploiting the poverty and powerlessness of the Cambodian people. ($45,000 from Kak’s family) Much more than you would have made in Hollywood (where your career was on the skids) and with the added advantage that your ego gets to be boosted by your seeming to be some kind of secular saint to the well-heeled New Yorkers who come to your gala fund raising events. 
Heather Graham, CCF board member

Heather Graham, Scott Neeson & CCF kids on display!

Here, the rich and famous (Salman Rushdie, Heather Graham) and those on the lookout for tax breaks (Steve Tisch, Cammie & John Rice), can hear the sad but uplifting stories of young Khmer boys and girls, dressed up in suits and fancy clothes for the occasion, rescued from poverty by Saint Scott. 
Salman Rushdie @ CCF gala fundraiser

What your New York patrons don’t see and will never find out about is that these kids return to their crowded dormitories in Phnom Penh and every few weeks get to visit the the rest of their families still working in the rubbish dump with no assistance from CCF at all. 

CCF kids flown to New York to be put on display

John & Cammie Rice

(Now that CCF is in severe financial difficulties and you are kicking kids out of the dormitories as quickly as you can, the sharing of beds is no longer necessary. The remaining victims of your funding model can, at least, get to sleep in their own bed!)

CCF is mostly smoke and mirrors. A sophisticated scam.

Steve Tisch

And it is a scam that is aided and abetted by the media in Cambodia and internationally. In Cambodia there is the Phnom Penh Post which, because it is partially owned by you,  will never publish anything that is in any way critical of CCF or yourself, as proprietor. Nor will the Cambodia Daily publish anything other than cut and paste versions of CCF press releases. For reasons that I do not pretend to understand (and can only guess at) the Cambodia Daily will likewise not publish anything negative about you or CCF.

Leng Kak & Seang Ly

You might respond to this with:

“That’s because there is nothing negative to publish.”

Leaving aside the various scams that have been written about in this blog is great detail (World Housing, the missing $2 million of salary monies, for instance) there is Leng Kak's family. 

I have been offering to introduce journalists from the Cambodia Daily to Leng Kak and her 8 children for more than 18 months now. And to other  families whose first hand experiences with CCF would reveal to a Cambodia Daily journalist the reality behind CCF’s child rescue model – a far cry from the impression created with photos of happy smiling children – all too often, in the case of cute little girls, in your arms.

Heng (oldest daughter, aged 19, Seang Ly & Seang Vy

A diligent Cambodia Daily journalist visiting these families would ask questions like: “How many children sleep in each bed at CCF?” (see previous blog entries for countless other questions) and draw their own conclusions – which may well be different to my own. The Daily refuses, point blank, to ask you questions or to look closely (indeed, at all) at your CCF operation.
The CCF house of cards will, of course, collapse under the weight of your lies and spin at some point. Those of us who are well aware of what a fraudulent organization CCF is (the entire NGO community in Cambodia) can only hope, when CCF does collapse, that you have in place structured re-integration programs for the children in your care; that they are not simply dumped back with their families, as Leng Kak’s children have been, with no backup and no financial assistance. 

Vouern & Seang Ly

The reality behind the Facebook spin is that CCF is extracting children from families and leaving the rest of the family working in the dump and living in makeshift dwellings such as those seen here. Children from scavenging families fill beds and provide you with great photo opportunities. 

Scott Neeson with kids

Is there any pretty little girl at CCF who has not been picked up by you and had her photo taken in your arms this past decade? Almost always the girls are smiling in these photos but every now and then you can read in the expression on the young girl’s face: “Who is this man who has just picked me up and is smiling so hard at the camera for no apparent reason!?”

Scott Neeson & bewildered young girl!

It is to be hoped, when CCF collapses, that the media that has been complicit in your scams, does not try to protect itself by refusing to report it in an honest way. This applies also to human rights organizations  such as LICADHO whose concern for the human rights of the Cambodian people does not extend to the 9,000 or so fake orphans in the country that generate so much in the way of income for dozens of fraudulent NGOs.

Despite the $45,000 (at least!) that CCF has earned from sponsors to help Leng Kak's family, it is not better off than it was five years ago. The $45,000 has either been wasted or found its way into the acquisition of property - the Black Bamboo restaurant and the other millions of dollars worth of land and housing that will be at your disposal when CCF collapses and all the kids in residential care are back where they started a decade or so ago.

Seang Vy, Seang Ly & sister-in-law Raksmey

If any journalist asks (and they probably won't) to respond to the allegations I make against you and CCF (and have been for a few years now), you will say that all I write is lies. If so, prove it by answering the countless questions I have asked in previous blog entries; prove it by demonstrating, in concrete terms, just what CCF has achieved this past decade in terms of assisting families to become self-sufficient. 

Scott Neeson with teenage girl

After the expenditure of close to $40 million you must, surely, have some great success stories to point to?

Meng Hong & Leng Kak