Since the government announced a campaign to stamp out human trafficking, authorities have been working hard to step up investigations and crackdowns.
On September 5, Chou Bun Eng – secretary of state at the Ministry of Interior and permanent vice-chair of the National Committee for Counter Trafficking (NCCT) – said NCCT is actively conducting a special operation in collaboration with relevant institutions to find all possible ways to prevent and suppress human trafficking cases nationwide.
“The special operation is being undertaken and we are working hard all over the country. We are introducing stronger measures in Phnom Penh. Once we examine the updated reporting, we will assess our progress, and the results will be summarised,” she said.
Bun Eng said NCCT was summarising the data from the latest reporting and would disseminate its findings to the public.
Am Sam Ath, deputy director of monitoring at rights group LICADHO, sees recent cases of human trafficking as alarming and said most appeared to involve foreigners being trafficked on Cambodian territory.
He stressed that they were serious cases of human rights violations and had a negative impact on the Kingdom’s image, affecting tourism and investment in the country.
To expedite the resolution of human trafficking and illegal confinement in Cambodia, he said good cooperation with neighbouring countries in the region and the international community is needed to blacklist targets.
“We need to enforce immigration laws on a regular basis, especially at casinos and other areas suspected of an outsize role in human trafficking offences,” he said.
Earlier this year, the US Department of State downgraded Cambodia’s ranking to Tier 3 in its Trafficking in Persons (TIP) for July Report, claiming that Cambodia was not doing enough to stop sexual coercion and migrant worker trafficking.
Bun Eng countered at the time that the report was the opposite of what the Cambodian government had actually been doing to address the issue.
She said the State Department had cherry-picked recent cases from 2022 to accentuate the shortcomings that Cambodia had along with a barrage of negative commentary to ensure a final judgment that placed Cambodia on Tier 3 and that generally, and as agreed upon, the report should only cover the period from January to December.