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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - How to curb the trafficking of people

How to curb the trafficking of people

Most people desire an income, good health and happiness. When these are offered,

few can resist the temptation. This is how children, men and women can be lured,

tricked, coerced and enticed into trafficking every day.

Creating an environment where lucrative offers can be refused is the best prevention

and preventing trafficking is more effective and sustainable than treating the consequences.

A safe environment is one where children are in schools. Children should have access

to quality education and the opportunity to successfully complete primary and secondary

education at a minimum. In the short term, children in schools are less at risk of

being trafficked; in the longer term, their education will protect them from these

and other risks.

During the last three years there has been an impressive increase in the percentage

of children enrolled in primary education. Only around 20 per cent of children, however,

are enrolled in secondary education. Most young people are out of school because

they are helping their families survive, either by earning income themselves, looking

after their siblings or helping with household chores, farming and herding.

Children of poor families are more at risk from trafficking. They are willing to

migrate with their entire families in search of labor and the prospect for income

generation. Therefore, strengthening employment and economic development opportunities

is another crucial approach for preventing human trafficking.

This is a long-term target; but an immediate response could be the establishment

of an organized and regulated labor migration scheme, where men and women are able

to find employment in a safe manner. Another response could be promoting income-generating

opportunities within the communities, to prevent families from migrating and facing

the risk of being trafficked.

Glenn Miles, Children at Risk Facilitator, Tearfund:

Sexual abuse is endemic in Cambodia. In a recent national survey of 1,300 school

children aged 12 to 15 years conducted by Tearfund on behalf of the Child Welfare

Group, 63.8% of children say they know of children who have been raped, 22.4% of

children say they have witnessed the rape of a child and 16.1% of children say they

have been touched on the genitals by an adult after the age of 9 years.

Disturbingly, boys appear to be as equally sexually abused as girls. Millions of

dollars are being invested with the emphasis on aftercare of women and girls following

sexual exploitation, but where are the services (and donors) for rape victims and

for boys? What is being done to educate children about how to protect themselves

from potential rape?

Aarti Kapoor, Legal Advisor, Afesip

Trafficking results from trends set by common people. If individuals were to see

the indirect consequences of their actions as clearly as the direct ones, we might

start making better choices. Every person should ask themselves: If I buy the sexual

services of this person, am I helping to perpetuate the high demand for commercial

sex which in turn helps to create the supply of this and other related "products

and services"?

When I give this little child some money, will it go to feed her or will it go into

the child's trafficker's pocket? Am I condoning begging that makes children susceptible

to pedophiles? What other activities of the trafficker am I helping to fund?

Am I supporting an industry through buying a product whose actual maker is only given

a small fraction or even none of the price that I am paying for the product? How

is this contributing to the overall condition of those workers who have little other

choices to earn their living?

Thus, am I contributing to factors leading many of these people or their dependents

deciding to pursue alternative careers in trafficking, pimping, corruption and prostitution?

How far down the line will the money leaving my hands be used to a) buy a child;

b) bribe someone; or c) fill the pockets of an exploiter of sex?

Trafficking is not a discrete problem. It is made up of a complex web of immeasurable

issues. It touches everyone. Every person has a capacity to produce consequences.

Unless every individual starts to understand all consequences and make better choices,

we will remain disappointingly redundant.

John Vijghen, Advisor, COSECAM

Going to the root of the problem we must realize that commercial principles apply:

it is a matter of supply and demand. However, the combat is mostly aimed at the supply

side - helping victims, assisting communities to defend themselves, law enforcement.

One example of how to do it better is demonstrated in one district in Sihanoukville

where local officials have established a routine of accompanying young girls when

they are going to look for a job in order to assure that they are not cheated and


Noor Ayesha, Technical Assistant, Center for Social Development

Reduce poverty. The numbers of trafficked victims are much bigger than the traffickers.

The government and international community must work towards reducing poverty from

society; we don't need only paperwork anymore.

The majority of poor people are well aware about traffickers and the miserable consequence

of being trafficked, but only when they escape poverty will they be able to fulfill

their basic human rights. All of us should work for that.

Caroline Bakker, head of the Children in Need program at the United Nations Children's Fund



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