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Shelter standards launched

Cambodian fishermen arrive at Phnom Penh International Airport in April 2013 after being repatriated from East Timor
Cambodian fishermen arrive at Phnom Penh International Airport in April 2013 after being repatriated from East Timor, where they had been working in slave-like conditions. Vireak Mai

Shelter standards launched

Following reports of abuse and poor conditions at the Kingdom’s shelters, the government yesterday launched official recommendations that seek to ensure better care is offered to victims of trafficking and sexual exploitation.

The Minimum Standards on Residential Care for Victims of Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation, released yesterday morning by the Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation in collaboration with NGO World Vision, includes criteria for the size and location of buildings, health and food, and rehabilitation activities.

“The experience of victims indicates the need for a systematic national mechanism to address the service quality and accreditation of all shelters providing support and care to victims of human trafficking and sexual exploitation in accordance with national and regional standards,” says a foreword to the proclamation, which was signed on May 19.

Khiev Bory, secretary of state at the Ministry of Social Affairs, said it was important that shelters provide victims with a high standard of care. Following the launch, Bory said, shelters would be inspected to determine whether they have “a good environment and safe, secure living conditions” that comply with the recommendations.

Leng Vireak, associate director of operations at World Vision, said the standards require the more than 100 centres across Cambodia to ensure, among other things, freedom of movement for people staying there and high standards of medical services. “We need those centres to [comply with] the minimum standards,” he said.

The proclamation states that centres that do not currently meet the minimum standards must do so within one year.

Ing Vannrithy, director of the Ministry of Social Affairs’ Anti-Human Trafficking and Victim Reintegration department, said the guidelines would change the care offered.

“We have allowed centres to open, but we did not have [official] minimum standards yet, so these guidelines will play an important role in rehabilitating the survivors of trafficking and exploitation,” he said.

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