A loose coalition of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) has called on the Cambodia government to step up efforts against human trafficking and in the provision of rehabilitation services to victims.
In a statement issued to coincide with World Day Against Trafficking in Persons (July 30), the group said it is crucial to increase awareness on safe migration for all and support those who choose to seek employment in another province or abroad.
According to the group,
the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has collected information on about 225,000 victims of human trafficking worldwide since 2003. Although Cambodia passed the Law on the Suppression of Human Trafficking and Commercial Sexual Exploitation in February 2008, the NGOs say more needs to be done.
Human trafficking flows two ways through Cambodia
Calling for greater education and awareness, particularly amongst Cambodia’s under educated rural residents, the NGOs say that the stream of human trafficking in Cambodia flows both ways.
The country, they say, is a source, destination and transit point for trafficked adults and children for exploitation in the commercial sex, forced labour, construction, manufacturing, and agricultural industries.
Traffickers continue to recruit significant numbers of Cambodian adults and children claims the unattributable media release, with traffickers using a range of methods including the promise of financial gain, coercion, and phycological manipulation to gain a victim’s cooperation.
Dreams and lives shattered
|Group calls for stronger measures to combat human trafficking Video IPS Inter Press Service News Agency|
As displayed in the video at the top of the page, the dreams of riches and a better life often turn into a periods of intense hardship, with human trafficking victims often separated from their passports illegally, and enslaved by false debt bondage.
While the NGOs would like to see more, effort, the Cambodian government points to its success. In a report tabled at an inter-ministerial meeting last week the National Committee for Counter-Trafficking (NCCT) said that in the first half of this year it had ‘cracked down on’ 78 cases of human and sex trafficking and rescued 263 victims: an increase of 25 and 148 per cent respectively compared to the same period last year.
It would appear to be a case of too little, too late. Last month Cambodia was downgraded from Tier 2 to Tier 2 Watch on the US Department of State’s “2019 Trafficking in Persons report” (TIP) … a downgrading that is known to have disappointed Cambodia Secretary of State for the Ministry of Interior, Chou Bun Eng.
“We can say our increased efforts in investigations led to more crackdowns and more convictions than last year. We saved more victims compared to the same period last year, so of course we have done better, Ms Chou said last week.
While the NGOs said the results were encouraging and applauded the efforts implemented by the Cambodia government, they said more still needs to be done in light of the numbers detected in the first six months of the year.
In the statement, signed by the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (Adhoc), Legal Support for Children and Women (LSCW), Ratanak International, Free To Shine, and We World-GVC, the group urged the Cambodia government to maintain the momentum from the first half of the year in detecting, apprehending, and prosecuting human traffickers, particularly those involved in cross border trafficking.
The group also called for the establishment of a fund for victims of human trafficking and the allocation of a sufficient budget to support them, particularly during the repatriation and reintegration process, and to fund the rescues of victims abroad.
Update: This story was last updated at 2017 local time on July 31, 2019 to add the names of two additional signatories. An earlier update removed a quote attributed to Fiona Mills, partnerships & development manager with NGO Free To Shine.
Feature video International Labour Organization
- Slavery and human trafficking in Cambodia (The Phnom Penh Post)
- Thailand smashes Ugandan human trafficking operation (HD video) (AEC News Today)
- Two women arrested in connection with human trafficking (Khmer Times)
- Thailand Government Riled by AP Claim It Ignored Human Trafficking (AEC News Today)
- Cambodia Gets Tough With Human Trafficking: “You Can Not Hide” Says DPM (AEC News Today)
Between November 2010 and February 2012 she was a staff writer at Daylight Online, Nigeria writing on health, fashion, and relationships. From 2010 – 2017 she worked as a freelance screen writer for ‘Nollywood’, Nigeria.
She joined AEC News Today in December 2016.