Monday, May 11, 2015

# 117 Closing down fake 'orphanages' and 'rescue homes'

HE Vong Soth
Ministry of Social Affairs,
Veteran and Youth Rehabilitation
#788, Monivong Blvd.
Phnom Penh

11th May 2015

Dear Minister

When will the Ministry of Social Affairs close down fake ‘orphanages’ in Cambodia?

When will the Ministry of Social Affairs tell NGOs running fake ‘orphanages’ that they must return ‘orphans’ to their families?

Why does the Ministry of Social Affairs allow NGOs to operate ‘orphanages’ in which 75% of the children have at least one living parent and in which close to 100% of children have families that could care for them if they had the appropriate support?

Fake ‘orphanages’ can be broken into three categories. They are run by:

(a) unscrupulous NGOs exploiting poor Cambodians to make a profit.

(b) evangelical Christians who force Cambodian children to abandon their Buddhist religion and culture


(c) foreigners who believe Cambodian parents are incapable caring for their own children.

All three categories of NGO are exploiting the material poverty of the Cambodian people and using images of children to induce well-meaning sponsors and donors to open their hearts and their wallets.

When will this exploitation end?

When the Ministry of Social Affairs does close fake orphanages, you need to take into account that many NGOs do not refer to the children in their institutional care as ‘orphans’ but do treat them as ‘orphans’.  

In the case of Citipointe Church’s ‘SHE Rescue Home’, run by evangelical Christians from Brisbane, Australia, Pastor Leigh Ramsay refers to the girls in institutional care as ‘victims of human trafficking’ – despite the fact that very few, if any, of the girls in the church’s care have been rescued from the sex trade.

Citipointe church tricks materially poor parents into placing their thumb prints on a ‘contact’ they cannot read and do not understand. The church then tells  the parents that Citipointe now has legal custody of their daughters. The parents, who have no idea of their legal rights, believe that they have no choice but to give up their daughters.

 This is a form of kidnapping and is contrary to Cambodia’s Law on Suppression of Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation:

Article 8:Definition of Unlawful Removal

The act of unlawful removal removal in this act shall mean to:

1)    Remove a person from his/her current place of residence to a place under the actor’s or a third persons control by means of force, threat, deception, abuse of power, or enticement, or

2)    Without legal authority or any other legal justification to do so to take a minor person under general custody or curatorship or legal custody away from the legal custody of the parents, care taker or guardian.

Article 9: Unlawful removal, inter alia, of Minor

A person who unlawfully removes a minor or a person under general custody or curatorship or legal custody shall be punished with imprisonment for 2 to 5 years.

Why are the Christians such as Pastor Leigh Ramsey not charged in accordance with Cambodian law with the illegal removal of children from their families?

Scott Neeson’s Cambodian Children’s Fund, run by another Australian, is yet another fake orphanage. Mr Neeson does not refer to the 700 or so children he has in institutional care as ‘orphans’. They are presented to donors and sponsors as children who do not have parents who can take care of them. This is not true. These children have very poor parents who require financial assistance when they fall upon hard times or because they are locked in a poverty cycle that they cannot extricate themselves from.

The Cambodian Children’s Fund takes advantage of the vulnerability of these very poor families by offering to help take care of their children. The parents think that this is a very generous offer and do not hesitate to sign a ‘contract’ given to them by Mr Neeson. Once the ‘contract’ has been signed, however, Mr Neeson, who does not provide the parents with a copy of it, tells the parents that he now has control of their children. If the parents want their children returned to their care have nowhere to turn for assistance when Mr Neeson refuses to do so.

I believe it to be essential, in protecting the rights of both parents and children, that parents be allowed to retain copies of any contracts they enter into with NGOs such as Citipointe church and the Cambodian Children’s Fund. The parents should be encouraged to show copies of these contracts to others who can offer them expert advice on the fairness or unfairness of the terms and conditions contained in them. Parents need to be informed that they have a right for their children to be returned to their care if they wish; that the contracts they have signed do not give an NGO to take control of the children’s lives.

Whilst requesting that Mr Neeson return the 700 fake ‘orphans’ in his care to their families you might ask him also to explain why it is that he tells the US Tax office it costs the Cambodian Children’s Fund $4,000 each year to provide accommodation and education to one child. As you know, $4,000 is more than double the amount of money it would take to support the entire family of one child in institutional care.

Scott Neeson will tell anyone who is prepared to listen that he is very well connected to powerful people in the Cambodian government. This may well be the case but these ‘powerful people’ should be ashamed of themselves if they are aiding and abetting in the break up of Cambodian families.

Future generations of children removed from their families by unscrupulous NGOs will one day ask you and others in your government, “Why did you allow this to happen?”

All NGOs running orphanages, even if they do not use the word ‘orphan’ should to told to present your Ministry, in the near future, with a detailed plan of:

(a) How they intend to re-integrate these fake orphans back into their families and communities over the next year


(b) How they intend to assist these children from materially poor families in the years to come.

It will be interesting to see how many of these NGOs continue with their ‘charitable’ work under these circumstances. I suspect that many of them will close their doors and move to another part of the world where they can steal the children of materially poor people with impunity. This will almost certainly be the case for evangelical Christian NGOs if they no longer have the opportunity to force their Christian beliefs on Cambodian children.

I find it hard to see what benefits there are for Cambodia in allowing the exploitation of Cambodia’s poor in this way. Yes, there may be some corrupt officials whose incomes are boosted by turning a blind eye to the clear breaches of Cambodian law practiced by these NGOs but Cambodian society, Cambodian culture loses out by having so many of its young people alienated from their families, their villages, their culture and religion whilst unscrupulous NGOs either make a lot of money or win souls for Jesus Christ.

I hope that the day comes when these children, removed from their families in a manner that is at times illegal and at others immoral, take the NGOs responsible to court and sue them for the emotional damage they have inflicted on themselves and their families.

The policy of removing children from their families in the belief that it was in the best interests of the children to be institutionalized, was tried in Australia for more than a century. This experiment in social engineering  failed so badly, caused so much emotional and psychological damage, that the Australian government had to apologize, a few years ago, for the creation of what we refer to in Australia as a ‘Stolen Generation’.

There is a ‘Stolen Generation’ of children being created in Cambodia and history will either look back on you as the person who brought this cruel practice to an end or as one of those who perpetuated it.

best wishes

James Ricketson


  1. You just hate Scott Neeson donpt you James fucking Ricketson because he has done something good with hi slife while you are just a looser who is jealous. Fuck you and your fucking blog

    1. Dear Anonymous 6.58

      The word is spelt 'loser', not 'looser' for the next time you want to use the word.

      No, I don't hate Scott Neeson. I have never met him. I just don't like the way he breaks up families, reels in huge amounts of money for doing so, and leaves those members of the family he has not 'rescued' living under the conditions from which he has rescued one member.

      On a regular basis I see a woman who has just 2 kids at CCF now but has had 4. She works in the rubbish dump and earns $1,000 a year. For the 2 kids in residential care, Neeson is claiming in his tax return that he is spending $4,000 a year to accommodate and educate her kids. That's $8,000 a year for CCF whilst CCF gives her $250 a year in rice support.

      This is the reality of Neeson's outreach program.

      There is another major problem with the way Neeson operates. Instead of helping families get out of the slums he is buying them up and renting them out to poor people - who can then be locked out if they get less than $20 behind in their rent. And, to make matters worse still, he is now in the process of building an even bigger slum in Steung Meanchey. Yes, the new houses look bright and shiny when they go up but they will turn into slums in time.

      As for your opinion of this blog, why on earth do you keep coming back? Have you nothing better to do with your life?

    2. Regarding the new slum you refer to: They are 121 sq. ft (about the size of your bathroom), no toilets, no potable water. The people they are 'given' to, don't own the land they are located on. They are actually not given by Neeson, but by an organization by the name of World Housing. Neeson takes the money ($2500) from World housing and builds these little shacks on stilts, and places over land most likely owned by Neeson.

    3. One Cambodian NGO (Cambodian Children's Fund) claims on their Facebook website to be spending less than a penny on fund raising for every dollar it receives. The latest tax info they have released is in 2013. They spent over $183,000 and raised $10,600,000, you do the math. Some NGO's will lie about everything and some half educated donors will believe anything they read. DON"T support organizations that take children from families. Why does CCF work so hard to lie to donors?

  2. sounds like above needs another drink . All while Neeson is back on yet another 1st Class globe trotting tour fully funded by his charity . wonder what the poor people are doing . lets all hail the king of slum

  3. Thank you James.
    The Cambodian Government should know that many of us Barang do not agree with the way foreign NGO are hijacking khmer kids in order to indoctrinate them with "western values" and religion that will cut them off from their own kind and culture. My hope is that the NGO Law will pass through quickly as promised and that those NGO failing to meet the criteria laid down in the law will have to pack up and go. Some powerfull christian NGO like World Vision should be the first one's to go but others like (jehovas witness) should follow suit because they actively break the law as you can see here:

  4. Simply outrageous that Neeson spends hundreds of thousands $$ in social media to promote himself as some super hero saving khmer children. his mega slum built to entrap hundreds of poor families that guarantees his future for an endless supply of khmer children raises millions more in funding. and lets not forget his salary of 20k per month and endless 1st class international holidays. Cambodian government should wake up, but a big ask when people like Scott Neeson has his own private police force full of rotten apples. GT PP

  5. Do the Phnom Penh Post and Cambodia Daily have shares in the Cambodian Children's Fund!Neeson sells 'orphans' to an Australian billionaire, has 700 fake orphans and is building a slum to guarantee he keeps raking in the money and neither newspaper writes a word about it. WTF!

    1. If James Ricketson were even half as good an investigative journalist as he thinks he is he would have discovered that the Cambodia Daily is an NGO. Yes, the Cambodia Daily is a registered tax-deductible charity and its publisher (who decides what will and what will not be published) is not going to shit in his own nest.

    2. Anonymous 9.38

      Thanks for the tip-off. Many of the leads I have got, for questions to ask, have come from this blog I will try to find out if the Cambodia daily is, indeed, a tax-deductible charity organisation.

  6. CCF has built hundreds of homes for families living in squalor in the last year. This doesn't sit well with you and your 2 followers, because you can't continue your "he doesn't help families" lie in the face of such contradictory evidence. So the best you have come up with is "Those homes are new now, but one day they won't be" and "he is building a slum". What a joke. Looking more and more desperate.

    1. Please watch this 7 minute video: : .

    2. Anonymous 7.14

      Leaving aside the question of whether or not these tiny houses will become slums one day or not, consider this:

      The houses have been donated to CCF. CCF constructs the houses on land owned by either Scott Neeson or CCF (I am not sure which). CCF then rents these houses to poor people. So, with the houses on CCF (or Neeson) land the materially poor people living in them are dependent on the 'good will' of Scott Neeson. If they do not behave themselves, they will be locked out. If they say anything at all negative about CCF they will be locked out. If they get less than $20 behind in their rent they will be locked out.

      Excuse me for belabouring the point but these houses did not cost CCF one cent. They were a gift. CCF/Neeson is making a profit out of this housing - whether you want to call it slum accommodation or not.

      All the while Neeson is claiming to spend $4,000 a year to take care of each of the kids whose families live in these houses. In the case of the family I filmed, locked out of their home for being behind in their rent by less than $20, Neeson is claiming to spend $8,000 a year to take care of their children.

      How do you justify this? How does CCF justify this? How does Neeson explain/justify this? More importantly, why does the Cambodian government tolerate this?

  7. Ricketson, you re an igrnorant cunt. Scott Neeson never says CCF kids have no parents. He always says and he means it they are from poor families that need support so they can become useful citizens and tomorrow’s leaders. And theres 500 kids living in CCF homes not 700.

    1. Well then he must have lied on his tax return!! Please let me know, I'll be happy to turn him over to the IRS. From his 2013 tax form: "CHILDCARE - CCF PROVIDES HOUSING AND TRANSPORTATION TO OVER 700 IMPOVERISHED

      What a liar he must be.

    2. Sure looks like someone is a liar, either Anonymous 3:07 or Neeson. So which one is it? Or is it BOTH of them?

  8. Ricketson, like I’ve said before, follow the money. Neeson asks for $100/150 a month to support one kid in a country with an average income for a family of about $90 monthly is the problem. And here’s another one. The person above, who seems to know (maybe its Neeson himself) reckons there’s only 500 kids living in dormitories. OK lets say that’s true and theres another 2000 living at home why does CCF need a staff of 500? That’s 1 staff for 4 kids! Or are these phantom staff like they have phantom soldiers in the army.

  9. Simon Marks, we need you. You went after Somaly Mam and exposed her as a liar. Why the fuck aren't you going after Neeson who makes Somaly look like fucking Mother Teresa. Looks like she's setting up shop again and no one is going to say boo. Why like Ricketson says does the Cambodian government allow the leeches to exploit the poor people in this God forsaken country like this.


  10. I have never said that Neeson claims CCF kids are orphans. He doesn’t. However, he has 700+ or 500+ kids in residential care who have families.

    So, let’s call these ‘de-facto orphans’. Why are they living in an institution?

    Because their parents are poor, of course. But why not help the parents become less poor? Why not help the kids stay with their families, figure out what the family needs to support its own kids; become self-sufficient? Why not go down that path? Yes, a more difficult path but surely the aim of CCF and any other NGO committed to tackling the problem of endemic poverty should be attacking the problem at its roots with a view to making themselves and the services they offer unnecessary at some point in the future.

    As for the question of how much money Neeson claims to spend on each child in institutional care, let me quote from an earlier blog – a letter to Heather Graham. If you don’t believe me, check out CCF’s tax return for yourself. It is online:

    “CCF is a registered charity in the United States. Each year the NGO must file a tax return.

    The Cambodian Children’s Fund 2013 “Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax” is to be found at:

    In Line 4a the figure of $1,603,309 appears alongside a list of educational programs servicing 760 kids.

    Simple mathematics reveals that CCF claims to be spending roughly $2,000 per child per annum for education.

    Does this figure seem realistic, Heather, in a country in which the per capita income of most Cambodian families is below $1,500?

    In Line 4b the figure of $1,423,298 appears alongside:

    “Childcare – CCF provides housing and transportation to over 700 impoverished Cambodian children.”

    CCF claims to be spending roughly $2,000 per child for housing and transportation per annum and yet these children sleep in dormitories, often 3 and 4 to a bed!

    Given that the cost of transportation within Steung Meanchey would cost very little, it is fair to assume that the bulk of the $2,000 CCF claims to spend per child in institutional care is for ‘housing’.

    How and why does it cost more to house and educate one Cambodian child in a CCF institution for one year than it costs for an entire Cambodian family to live for one year?

    Given that all the 700 children in institutional care at CCF are going to school, the figures for education and housing can be added together.

    So it is that Scott is claiming, to the US Tax Office, that CCF is spending roughly $4,000 to house and educate one Cambodian child.

    Heather, please consider CCF’s 2013 tax return as it relates to the family CCF locked out of its house for being $12.50 behind in their rent.”

  11. "If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck."

    Scott Neeson is probably a slum lord. And a very rich one. And he can get away with it because this is Cambodia and if you have a lot of money you have a lot of power and if you have a lot of power you can do whatever the fuck you want and no-one is going to hold you accountable.

  12. In the NGO world of lies nothing is sacred. World Vision (a christian relief org that specializes in Child Sponsoring) for example to this very day creates the impression that donated money which often enough is transferred every month by the donor is going directly to the support of the child of which the donor regulary receives handwritten postcards and drawings.

    Andrew Geoghean, a foreign Correspondent of Australian ABC News had following experience:

    Foreign Correspondent story from Ethiopia broadcast

    on 25 November 2008

    When Foreign Correspondent travelled to Ethiopia to film a story about the famine it did so at its own expense. The focus of the story was to draw international attention to the eight million Ethiopians who are in need of food aid. A relatively small section of the story dealt with a meeting between Africa Correspondent Andrew Geoghegan and Tsehaynesh Delago who is his “sponsor child”.

    World Vision representatives accompanied the ABC team when they visited Tsehaynesh Degalo's home. The ABC employed a translator to guarantee an accurate account of the family's situation.

    Foreign Correspondent sought answers from World Vision representatives in Ethiopia on why the organisation's literature creates the impression that donated money goes directly to the sponsor child. The WV representative failed to adequately respond to the questions and instead outlined the community projects where sponsor money is spent. Foreign Correspondent does not dispute the integrity of World Vision projects, but questions the way sponsorship is promoted to the public.

    Interestingly, in its response to the Foreign Correspondent story, World Vision has ignored Andrew Geoghegan's surprise at finding that Tsehaynesh Delago speaks no English. Yet he's been receiving regular reports from the organisation that she's learning English at school and has a good command of the language.

    Foreign Correspondent disputes World Vision's accusation the program has been “disingenuous”. The team went with open minds and reported what they found. The facts remain: Andrew Geoghegan has sponsored Tsehaynesh for a decade and yet she claims she was unaware, until recently, that she had a sponsor and says the only benefit she has ever received directly from World Vision is a pen and the denim jacket she wore on the day of filming.

    Greg Wilesmith , Executive Producer Foreign Correspondent


    meanwhile the country director of World Vision takes home a 6digit salary,free accomodation,driver and expenses, all at the cost of the donor that has no idea where his money ends up.

    Does this not sound familiar ??

    1. You bet it does. Hundreds of sponsors are getting deceived by corrupt NGO's riding around in their Lexes's and traveling the world at the expense of donors. I think we have one that is frequently mentioned on this blog. Thanks for sharing this specific information.

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