Economic migration can lead to human exploitation

Economic migration can lead to human exploitation

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Photograph: Phnom Penh Post

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) defines trafficking in these terms: “Human Trafficking is a crime against humanity. It involves an act of recruiting, transporting, transferring, harboring or receiving a person through a use of force, coercion or other means, for the purpose of exploiting them.”

Trafficking can take place when young people and children leave their home and move to a wealthier neighboring country for work in the domestic service.

Every year, thousands of men, women and children fall into traffickers’ hands either in their own countries or abroad.

Sometimes, parents do not know enough and will not see the trap their children can fall into as human trafficking is not conspicuous unless one looks at it more closely.

Sunny, 23, worked for a Malaysian house owner who mistreated her while on duty for the last two years and her $300 monthly salary would be transferred to the company to pay off her debt.

“I had to wake up everyday at 4am and do the house chores like cooking, washing up, cleaning up the floor,” she says.

“They never molested me, but they would always blame me. I had to serve them like a slave. Each time they left for work, they locked me up in the house.”

She tried to escape from their house many times, but never managed to until one day, when they forgot to lock the door and she took the opportunity to go back to the company that brought her to Malaysia. There she told her story and how the family she was staying with mistreated her.

The company flew her back to Cambodia and she now works for a garment factory.

It seems that when the lure of profit tricks people, they end up in difficult situation, where slavery is usually the outcome.

In these situations, the company is as guilty as the host in the promotion of human trafficking.

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