Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos are joining forces to boost their fight against human trafficking in the region, the kingdom’s National Police chief said yesterday.
According to the government, sex trafficking in Cambodia decreased by about 18 cases – representing a 19 percent drop – in 2016.
But Neth Savoeun, the National Police chief, said the problem was far from over as police forces in all three countries faced deep, powerful networks of criminals and traffickers with enough money, arms and tricks to continue the trade unabated.
He said the situation is exacerbated in Cambodia due to socio-economic factors. Despite the crackdowns and long sentences for traffickers, average citizens continue to work with traffickers due to low levels of education, limited work opportunities and extreme poverty, which caused people to migrate for work or marriage, be forced into prostitution and succumb to drug use, he added.
“After issuing measures to prevent all forms of human trafficking and sexual exploitation of women and children, especially the implementation of [laws against] the flow of migrant workers abroad illegally, as in 2016, the resulting crackdown saw the sexual exploitation offenses decrease by about 18 cases and the migrant worker [cases] decrease by 29.34 percent,” he said.
Mr. Savoeun would not confirm the total number of offenses that occurred in 2016, but urged police in all three countries to continue working together and exchanging information while monitoring borders and preventing smuggling as well as human trafficking.
Sem Chao Sok, the senior investigator for human rights organization Licadho, said trafficking cases decreased a small amount when comparing figures from 2016 with those from 2015.
In 2016, his organization handled 90 cases of trafficking, while in 2015, they dealt with 100.
“Offenses still happen because brokers use another way to traffic people. But I find that the government has increased its attention on the problem,” he said.
According to the National Police, which gets its information from the International Labor Organization, an estimated 21 million people in the world have been involved in trafficking and the industry brings in more than $150 billion per year.
More than 60 percent of the trafficking cases involved forced labor, while the rest concern the sex trade. By Pech Sotheary, 16 Feb 2017
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