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More trafficked in 2014: gov’t

Trafficked fishermen arrive at Phnom Penh International Airport
Trafficked fishermen arrive at Phnom Penh International Airport last year after they were rescued from Thai fishing boats in Indonesian waters. Vireak Mai

More trafficked in 2014: gov’t

A mother whose daughter was trafficked into the Malaysian sex industry has pleaded with lawmakers to help rescue her child, as new figures from Cambodia’s Interior Ministry reveal an upswing in human trafficking victims rescued last year.

Appearing yesterday before the National Assembly, Sman Srey Nob broke down in tears as she spoke about her daughter Sen Namany, 23, who, together with 15-year-old Ly Mahiros, was duped by traffickers and sold as a sex slave in November last year.

Her testimony – organised by Cambodia National Rescue Party leader Sam Rainsy – came as the Interior Ministry released a handful of annual reports, covering immigration, crime and trafficking.

“They were promised work at a garment factory in Malaysia, getting $500 per month,” Srey Nob, a member of the country’s Cham Muslim minority, said. “But in fact, my daughter called and told me that she was sold to be a sexual slave . . . in Malaysia.”

According to the ministry, although sex trafficking cases increased by only one last year compared to 2013 – from 93 to 94 – the number of victims rescued from the trade had risen from 256 to 352.

Last year saw 119 people, including 44 women and 14 foreigners, charged with sex-trafficking offences, compared to 116 in 2013, according to the figures.

“We have been working much more to combat human trafficking and save victims,” said Chou Bun Eng, Interior Ministry secretary and the chair of the national committee on combating human trafficking.

“We are also helping our migrant workers who are repatriated from abroad, which is worryingly still increasing,” she said.

Some 330,948 Cambodian workers, including more than 116,000 women and nearly 26,000 children, were repatriated in more than 5,500 separate cases last year, the ministry’s figures show.

Among these were 994 victims of trafficking who returned via Phnom Penh’s airport from countries including Malaysia, Indonesia, China, Vietnam and the US.

The figures also showed 191 people being repatriated across the Vietnamese border, and six people coming overland via Laos.

However, Cambodians forced to work in Thailand comprised by far the largest group repatriated, with almost 33,000 people, including 15,869 women and 2,729 children, following a crackdown on undocumented workers by the Thai military.

Included in the ministry’s immigration report, released separately, were results from a government census of foreigners, which found more than 100,000 immigrants, including some 72,000 with “irregular documents”.

Meanwhile, the ministry’s 2014 report on crime, also released yesterday, revealed a 4 per cent rise in overall offences, with officers handling about 2,800 cases compared to around 2,700 in 2013.

Felony cases dropped 9 per cent while misdemeanors rose 9 per cent. Aggravated theft was down 20 per cent with 251 cases, murder was down 9 per cent with 213 cases, rape cases increased 5 per cent to 226 and intentional violence dipped slightly to 791 cases.

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