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Report rebutted: Gov’t defends progress on trafficking

Report rebutted: Gov’t defends progress on trafficking

The Cambodian government has hit back at a US State Department report that heavily criticised its efforts to combat human trafficking, claiming it was riddled with false information and vague generalisations.

The 2013 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report, released last Friday, downgraded the Kingdom for the first time since 2009 to a level for nations not able to provide sufficient evidence that they are trying to meet minimum anti-trafficking standards.

In a statement released yesterday by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the government said the report ignored its efforts, and labeled parts of the report “ludicrous”.

“Many of the issues raised in this report are either made from general sweeping assumptions or lacking real evidence in the first place to prove otherwise,” the statement said.

It argues that in recent years the Kingdom has pushed through a number of legislations designed to crack down on trafficking that the report “deliberately” ignored in order to criticise Cambodia’s lack of progress.

Last week’s report slammed the government for “endemic” corruption that it said undermined prosecutions and efforts to hold traffickers to account.

But yesterday’s statement claimed that “real progress” had been made in 2012, with 133 suspects arrested, 458 victims rescued and 300 convicted by the courts.

Those numbers contrast starkly with the report, which said that just 50 traffickers were prosecuted in the reporting period, resulting in 44 convictions between April 1 2012 and 31 March 2013.

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