Authorities have to-date recorded 707 reports of human trafficking in all forms into a central log, which involved the detention of 120 suspects, Minister of Interior Sar Kheng told a January 20 meeting on foreigner employment.

Officials have made significant inroads in the investigations of 445 cases, involving 1,045 foreigners, leading to the closure of five businesses, he said, revealing that the 120 detainees were of four nationalities.

The minister confirmed that 229 of the cases had to be closed due to the vagueness of the information provided in the initial reports and subsequent updates.

He lauded authorities’ initiatives to combat people smuggling, forced labour and sex trafficking, including channels on social media platforms and hotlines such as those of the National Police or the General Department of Immigration.

Am Sam Ath, deputy director for monitoring at rights group LICADHO, expressed grave concern over the issue, reflecting on Cambodia’s notorious reputation for human trafficking, despite the high incidence on foreigner-on-foreigner cases.

“It’s necessary for the police to strengthen law enforcement, and especially root out corruption, increase the ability of officers to adapt to evolving crimes, as human trafficking increasingly goes online.

“Police need to work better regionally and globally to serve more effectively,” he said.