Statistics released by the National Police yesterday showed little change in the number of human-trafficking cases tackled by authorities, with a labour advocate saying a more active approach to addressing the issue would net more suspects.
At a meeting headed by National Police chief Neth Savoeun, officials revealed that 92 cases – 65 of them sex-trafficking incidents – were dealt with from December 25, 2015, to December 25 of last year compared to the 94 reported cases for a similar period in 2015.
The 92 cases saved 298 victims, with 91 of them under the age of 18. Of the 113 suspects arrested in 2016, 12 were underage and eight were foreign nationals.
While Savoeun and police spokesman Kith Chantharith could not be reached, the vice chair of the National Committee for Counter-Trafficking, Chou Bun Eng, said there might be more cases out there, but that officials relied on complaints to take action.
“We cannot say these are the only cases that are happening,” Bun Eng said. “The cases where we are informed and receive complaints, we crack down on them.”
But waiting for complaints before taking action showed officials to be only reactive, said head of labour advocacy group Moeun Tola.
“They should be clearing up the big fish. This is mostly the small fish,” he said.
He said a more proactive approach would be uncovering illegal brokers and recruitment agencies.