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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Canada lends a hand to police cross-border human trafficking

Canada lends a hand to police cross-border human trafficking

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Training session with Canadian anti-trafficking experts focuses on confiscation of evidence and taking statements from child victims.

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Ted Price, Canadian police chief, at the conference Monday.

THE Canadian government helped bolster local efforts to fight human trafficking and the underage sex trade in a training session provided to local police Monday, according to officials.

Under the Canadian International Police Agency's Law Enforcement Against Sexual Exploitation and Trafficking of Children (LEASETC) plan, Canada provided three experts to share their experiences with local anti-trafficking authorities from five provinces.

The police who attended the training session were from Phnom Penh, as well as Prey Veng, Kandal, Koh Kong and Pursat provinces - the main locations of cross-border trafficking, Sau Phan, deputy commissioner general of the National Police, said Monday.

"We always welcome the offer of new techniques to investigate these crimes from any country in the world, which means that all countries in the world are actively taking part in tackling the child sex trade and human trafficking," he said.  

Rous Savin, the head of Kandal province's Anti-Human Trafficking and Minority Protection Office, said that the local police had enough capacity to investigate cases alone, but that a foreign perspective could help to further reduce cross-border trafficking.

"Cross-border human trafficking is usually done by foreigners, so we need foreign experts who know their tricks and have experience in dealing with those foreign criminals to share their knowledge with us," he said.

Ted Price, a Canadian police chief with the country's International Service Agency, said that his country's experts were training Cambodian police in searching premises, the confiscation of evidence and taking statements from child survivors of sexual assault.

"We are here to assist wherever we can with the protection of women and children, and to give the Cambodian police more skills to investigate sexual exploitation and human trafficking," he told the Post, adding that further sessions would be held in November and December.

Ya Navuth, executive director of the Cambodia office of the Coordinated Action Research on AIDS and Mobility, a global NGO, said that in early 2009, it had already documented more than 10 cases of human trafficking in the Kingdom.

He also expressed fears the current financial downturn could cause further trafficking, citing a report from Cambodian rights group Adhoc showing that 2008 saw a 38 percent rise in cases of trafficking compared with 2007.

"When we face a world economic crisis and factories lay off workers in places such as Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand, human trafficking might increase," he said Monday, adding that assistance from Canada would be well-received.

"It is very good that our country has experts from Canada to help out with training and to share some experiences with police fighting against human trafficking. I think that trafficking will decrease one day," he said.

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