Last Updated: Friday, 29 August 2014, 14:18 GMT

U.S. Department of State 2006 Trafficking in Persons Report - Cambodia

Publisher United States Department of State
Author Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
Publication Date 5 June 2006
Cite as United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State 2006 Trafficking in Persons Report - Cambodia, 5 June 2006, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4680d87c1e.html [accessed 31 August 2014]
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 Watch List)

Cambodia is a source, destination, and transit country for men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes of sexual exploitation and forced labor. A significant number of Cambodian women and children are trafficked to Thailand and Malaysia for commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor. Cambodian men are trafficked primarily to Thailand for forced labor in the construction and agricultural sectors – particularly the fishing industry – while Cambodian women and girls are trafficked for factory and domestic work. A significant number of Cambodian children are trafficked to Vietnam and Thailand for the purpose of forced begging. Cambodia is a transit and destination point for women from Vietnam trafficked for sexual exploitation. Trafficking for sexual exploitation also occurs within Cambodia's borders, from rural areas to the country's capital, Phnom Penh, and other secondary cities in the country.

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. Cambodia is placed on Tier 2 Watch List because the determination that it is making significant efforts is based in part on commitments to sustain progress over the coming year. During the last year, the Cambodian Government stepped up efforts to arrest, prosecute, and convict traffickers. Police actions increased over the last year, resulting in a raid and subsequent shutdown of a notorious hotel/brothel where trafficking victims were found. The owner of the brothel was later prosecuted and convicted. Although Cambodia's anti-trafficking efforts remained hampered by corruption at all levels of government and an ineffectual judicial system, the Cambodian Government made efforts to address trafficking-related official corruption by arresting and initiating prosecutions of two anti-trafficking unit police officials and two provincial police officials. The Ministry of Interior (MOI) also developed a National Action Plan to eradicate trafficking in persons and is in the process of creating a memorandum of understanding with NGOs to regulate the handling of trafficking victims. The Cambodian Government should make greater efforts to prosecute and convict public officials who profit from or are involved in trafficking and should also pass and enact comprehensive anti-trafficking legislation.

Prosecution

During the reporting period, the Cambodian Government made clear progress in its anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts. Cambodia does not have a comprehensive anti-trafficking law but it used existing statutes to prosecute traffickers. A comprehensive anti-trafficking bill that provides law enforcement and judicial officials with enhanced powers to arrest and prosecute traffickers is nearing final government approval in 2006. Penalties for trafficking of persons over the age of 15 for sexual exploitation carry sentences of up to 15 years' imprisonment, while penalties for trafficking of persons under 15 years of age for sexual exploitation carry sentences of up to 20 years' imprisonment. In 2005, the Cambodian police reported conducting 67 operations, resulting in the arrest of 111 perpetrators and the rescue of 164 victims. The Ministry of Justice reported the prosecution and conviction of at least 45 traffickers during the year, double the number in 2004. Cases, for the most part, were generated by the efforts of NGOs. Corruption, lack of training and funding for law enforcement, and a weak judiciary remain the most serious impediments to the effective prosecution of traffickers. There are reports that corrupt police officials continue to leak information to brothel/karaoke operators about upcoming police raids. Responding to reports of complicity of public officials in trafficking, the government initiated action against four officials in mid-2005 for trafficking-related corruption. The government, in cooperation with international organizations and NGOs, conducted training for police officers on investigation techniques, surveillance, and case preparation and management of trafficking cases. Despite past U.S. funding for training of the Police Anti-Trafficking Department, it has conducted only a limited number of proactive investigations over the last year.

Protection

The Cambodian Government in 2005 continued to provide limited assistance to victims. The government referred victims to NGOs and international organizations, and operated two temporary shelters for victims through the Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans, and Youth Rehabilitation (MOSAVY). The Cambodian Government relied primarily on foreign and domestic NGOs to provide protective services to victims although on occasion, it provided in-kind support to NGOs, such as land, office space, and staff. The government continued to support an NGO that has primary responsibility for placement of trafficking victims in long-term shelters.

Prevention

The government made modest efforts to promote awareness of trafficking during the reporting period. Working with NGOs and international organizations, the Cambodian government implemented a campaign in most parts of the country to raise public awareness regarding the dangers of trafficking through public meetings, posters, television and radio campaigns, and the use of traditional Cambodian theater. The Ministry of Women's Affairs collaborated with IOM to expand a nationwide anti-trafficking information and advocacy campaign that included district-level meetings with government officials and the distribution of educational materials and videos. The MOI's Anti-Trafficking Police Unit also conducted intervention programs to teach students about the risks of trafficking and their rights under the law.

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