CAMBODIAN and Vietnamese officials plan to sign an agreement today that will formalise and streamline the policies law enforcement agencies must follow when returning victims of trafficking to their respective countries, officials said Wednesday.
John McGeoghan, project coordinator of the Phnom Penh office at the International Organisation on Migration, which is involved in the programme, said the signing would allow for the implementation of a 2005 agreement calling for the repatriation of trafficking victims to be sped up.
At a press briefing attended by Ith Sam Heng, minister of social affairs, veterans and youth rehabilitation, and Le The Tiem, the vice chair of Vietnam’s National Standing Committee on Anti-Trafficking, officials also reported 11-month totals for migrants who had been repatriated:
Though only 11 Vietnamese had been repatriated, a total of 773 Cambodians had been returned from Vietnam. That figure is up from 298 in 2008.
Not all of those were victims of trafficking, McGeoghan noted.
“The actual number is basically poor families in Svay Rieng who cross the border to do day labour. Some of them go to panhandle in Ho Chi Minh,” he said.
Kong Chhan, technical deputy director general at the Social Affairs Ministry, said during the press briefing that human trafficking is still an issue for both countries.
“Many of these victims are cheated by promises that they will get jobs with a good salary,” he said.