Monday, April 20, 2009

Cambodia Cracks Down on Human Trafficking


The Royal Government of Cambodia has taken strong measures to crack down on children exploitation and human trafficking in Cambodia, according to Oum Mean, Secretary of State at the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training (MoLVT).

Mean said MoLVT, in collaboration with the Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Women’s Affairs and related local authorities, recently introduced a requirement for all registered foreign labor companies in Cambodia that recruit Khmer workers for employment abroad to obey Cambodian labor laws.

He said the ministry also asked involved ministries and local authorities to increase cooperative action against child exploitation and human trafficking, as it occurs in Phnom Penh and provinces along the borders throughout the country.

Recently, MoLVT organized a five-day workshop for police and military police in 24 cities and province, aiming to increase the awareness of human trafficking, according to Mean. It also recently established information networks to provide awareness on the competent police telephone number and address, and emergency calls to all people, and involved government institutions in Cambodia.

In addition, ministry also posted “human trafficking banners and information on major roads and in the 24 cities and province and also provided information to the Cambodian embassies around the world so they can call or report incase they have cheated in trafficking during working abroad, said Oum Mean.

“The government works hard to stop the child exploitation and human trafficking activities,” he said. “We hope with good organization and cooperation from involved ministries and authorities, we can reduce the activity of the child exploitation and human trafficking in Cambodia.”

Brigadier General Mok Bun Chheang, Deputy Director of the Anti-Human Trafficking and Juvenile Protection Department in the Ministry of Interior, said child exploitation and human trafficking has been a problem of concern for Cambodia and other counties in the region.

“We all know that the Khmer Rough regime and its killing fields was bad for Cambodian people, but I think that Cambodian workers who are trafficked and sold into sexual slavery or sold to foreign countries in the region have bad living conditions and their situation are very bad and dangerous,” Bun Chheang said. “To protect our Cambodian people from being trafficked or sold in future, we have to take strict actions and measures against the dealers.”

To crack down on human trafficking, the Ministry of Interior, in collaboration with involved ministries and local authorities have been worked hard, said Bun Chheang, adding that as result, one Cambodian was arrested last month and sent to the Phnom Penh court and charged as a human trafficking dealer.

He said the Ministry of Interior has identified 72 human trafficking dealers in Cambodia who are under investigation. The authorities plan to arrest and charge them in connection with the human trafficking activities soon.

“I would like to appeal for all people who know information on the child exploitation and human trafficking leaders to please to report to the police station so that police can take immediate action to rescue the victims,” he said.

At least 500 Cambodian workers in the previous year, including children and women, have been lured into labor exploitation in Cambodia and other countries in the region, according to a report which was released in 2008 by the United Nations Inter-Agency Project on Trafficking in the Greater Mekong Sub-Region (UNIAP).

Lim Tith, Project Coordinator of UNIAP, said women and children were trafficked from rural to urban areas. He hinted that most destinations are: Phnom Penh (for commercial sexual exploitation, begging, domestic work, and labor exploitations); and other provinces such as Koh Kong (for fishing industry and commercial sexual exploitation), Sihanouk (for commercial sexual exploitations), Siem Reap (commercial sexual exploiltation), Poipet (commercial sexual exploitation) and Battambang (commercial sexual exploitation).

Domestic trafficking usually takes place in highly populated rural areas, he said, especially those in areas of severe drought or flooding that are susceptible to the economic downturn.

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