Last Updated: Friday, 27 May 2016, 08:49 GMT

U.S. Department of State 2003 Trafficking in Persons Report - Cambodia

Publisher United States Department of State
Author Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
Publication Date 11 June 2003
Cite as United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State 2003 Trafficking in Persons Report - Cambodia, 11 June 2003, available at: [accessed 29 May 2016]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Cambodia (Tier 2)

Cambodia is a source and destination country for persons trafficked for sexual exploitation and forced labor. Cambodian men, women, and children who cross into Thailand, often as illegal migrants, are forced into labor or prostitution by traffickers. Cambodian children are trafficked into Vietnam and forced to work as street beggars. Vietnamese women and girls are trafficked into Cambodia for prostitution. Cambodian women and children are trafficked internally for sexual exploitation.

The Government of Cambodia does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Faced with limited resources, government officials have recognized that trafficking is a major problem confronting the country and have put in place new measures – particularly in prosecution and law enforcement – to address the challenge. Much remains to be done to build upon this modest start. Government action should concentrate on removing corrupt officials linked to trafficking, ensuring that procedures to protect victims function uniformly, and expanding bilateral cooperation, particularly with Vietnam. Future government action should also include enacting an anti-trafficking law, as well as increasing the number of prosecutions and convictions of traffickers.


The government works with a wide-reaching array of NGOs and international organizations on prevention. Both the Ministry of Women's and Veterans' Affairs (MOWVA) and the Ministry of Social Affairs, Labor, Vocational Training and Youth Rehabilitation (MOSALVY) have worked with NGOs and international organizations to build up community-based networks in high-risk provinces to inform potential victims of the risks of trafficking. The MOWVA carried out information campaigns, including grassroots meetings in key provinces. The Ministry of Tourism works with NGOs to produce workshops and pamphlets to combat trafficking dangers associated with sex tourism.


The Government of Cambodia has no comprehensive anti-trafficking law. Law enforcement against traffickers is possible under existing statutes. The Ministry of Interior runs a hotline to gain tips on cases of child sexual exploitation. The hotline has helped officials to identify and rescue victims at risk. According to available data, there were at least 75 convictions of sexual exploiters under the Law on the Suppression of the Kidnapping, Trafficking, and Exploitation of Human Beings. The number of convictions under the law specifically related to trafficking in persons is not available, but NGOs reported at least nine criminal convictions, with six defendants receiving sentences ranging from 10 to 20 years imprisonment. Victims were also awarded financial compensation. Prosecution of traffickers was hampered, however, because the judicial system is backlogged and burdened by corrupt practices, a subject of continuing concern. While authorities have arrested public officials on charges of corruption related to trafficking, no complete information was available on these efforts. The government needs to take aggressive steps to address the involvement of public officials and their families in trafficking.


The government has procedures to assist victims but they are limited and not uniformly implemented. MOSALVY runs two temporary shelters for victims and attempts to place victims with NGOs for long-term sheltering. However, victims are at risk of being taken out of these shelters and re-trafficked. MOSALVY's efforts are hampered by a lack of resources. Officials have pushed a much-needed memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Thailand, which when implemented will regularize Cambodian repatriations. Government officials recognize the need for regularized repatriation of Vietnamese, and the MOWVA has begun discussions with Hanoi to promote an MOU.

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