Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Foreign ministry disputes media reports of ‘rampant’ human trafficking

Foreign ministry disputes media reports of ‘rampant’ human trafficking

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Chum Sounry, spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation spoke at a previous press conference. Hong Menea

Foreign ministry disputes media reports of ‘rampant’ human trafficking

Chum Sounry, spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, shed light on the reality of human trafficking in Cambodia, saying that it not as rampant as some media reports suggested.

Sounry released a four-page clarification letter on September 9, following many media stories which had attracted international notice.

“Human trafficking condition in Cambodia is not as serious or as bad as the media would suggest,” said the letter.

Citing a report from local media outlet Fresh News which quoted Ministry of Interior spokesman Khieu Sopheak, Sounry said that Cambodian authorities intervened in 104 cases, rescued 968 people and detained 82 suspects. However, only 19 of the cases involved extortion and confinement.

“The majority of the cases involved labor disputes, contract disputes, restrictions on freedom, switching jobs without consent, debt settlement, discontent with living and working conditions, or instances where concerned families asked the authorities to find their missing relatives,” Sounry said.

He quoted Malaysian Ambassador to Cambodia Eldeen Husaini Mohd Hashim, who told foreign media that more than 100 Malaysians working for syndicates in Cambodia have been rescued by the Malaysian embassy since 2018.

The ambassador added that among those who had been freed, some had refused to leave Cambodia or even rejected the rescue offered to them, as they did not want to return to Malaysia. He said some had run away from their homes to escape creditors. However, their mothers had filed complaints to the government and asked that they be returned home.

Sounry also rejected media reports about organ harvesting rings and the selling human body parts, saying they were all fabricated.

The spokesman said Cambodia is committed to fighting against all forms of human trafficking.

He cited Interior Minister Sar Kheng’s remarks, saying The National Committee for Counter Trafficking has rolled out an operational plan to scale up its campaign against human trafficking, forced labor and the sex trade.

On August 28, Sar Kheng called on the public, the national and international community, foreign diplomatic missions and embassies in Cambodia, and international authorities to continue sharing intelligence related to human trafficking and other transnational crimes, in order to more effectively suppress them.


  • Hong Kong firm done buying Coke Cambodia

    Swire Coca-Cola Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hong Kong-listed Swire Pacific Ltd, on November 25 announced that it had completed the acquisition of The Coca-Cola Co’s bottling business in Cambodia, as part of its ambitions to expand into the Southeast Asian market. Swire Coca-Cola affirmed

  • Cambodia's Bokator now officially in World Heritage List

    UNESCO has officially inscribed Cambodia’s “Kun Lbokator”, commonly known as Bokator, on the World Heritage List, according to Minister of Culture and Fine Arts Phoeurng Sackona in her brief report to Prime Minister Hun Sen on the night of November 29. Her report, which was

  • NagaWorld union leader arrested at airport after Australia trip

    Chhim Sithar, head of the Labour Rights Supported Union of Khmer Employees at NagaWorld integrated casino resort, was arrested on November 26 at Phnom Penh International Airport and placed in pre-trial detention after returning from a 12-day trip to Australia. Phnom Penh Municipal Court Investigating Judge

  • Sub-Decree approves $30M for mine clearance

    The Cambodian government established the ‘Mine-Free Cambodia 2025 Foundation’, and released an initial budget of $30 million. Based on the progress of the foundation in 2023, 2024 and 2025, more funds will be added from the national budget and other sources. In a sub-decree signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen

  • Two senior GDP officials defect to CPP

    Two senior officials of the Grassroots Democratic Party (GDP) have asked to join the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), after apparently failing to forge a political alliance in the run-up to the 2023 general election. Yang Saing Koma, chairman of the GDP board, and Lek Sothear,

  • Cambodia's poverty cut in half from 2009 to 2019: World Bank report

    A report published by the World Bank on November 28 states that Cambodia’s national poverty rate fell by almost half between 2009 and 2019, but the Covid-19 pandemic recently reversed some of the poverty reduction progress. Cambodia’s poverty rate dropped from 33.8 to 17.8 per cent over the 10