Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Cambodia ranks 14th in prevalence of ‘slavery': index



Cambodia ranks 14th in prevalence of ‘slavery': index

Cambodian fishermen arrive in Phnom Penh last year after being repatriated from East Timor
Cambodian fishermen arrive in Phnom Penh last year after being repatriated from East Timor, where they escaped from slave-like conditions aboard a Thai trawler. Vireak Mai

Cambodia ranks 14th in prevalence of ‘slavery': index

More than 155,000 people in Cambodia are living as modern “slaves”, according to a global index released this week.

The Global Slavery Index 2014, released on Monday by Australia-based NGO Walk Free Foundation (WFF), ranks Cambodia 14th out of 167 countries for the prevalence of slavery, with an estimated 155,800 people enslaved, or 1.03 per cent of the population.

The report defines slaves as people subject to forced labour, debt bondage, trafficking, sexual exploitation for money and forced or servile marriage.

“Modern slavery involves one person possessing or controlling another person in such as a way as to significantly deprive that person of their individual liberty, with the intention of exploiting that person through their use, management, profit, transfer or disposal,” it says.

In ranking of prevalence, Cambodia sits between Iraq and Moldova.

The report also assesses government responses to slavery and, with regards to Cambodia, gives it an average ranking of “CCC”, as one of the countries assessed where the government “has a response to modern slavery, with limited victim support services, a criminal justice framework that criminalises some forms of modern slavery, has a national action plan and/or national coordination body, and has policies that provide some protections for those vulnerable to modern slavery”.

Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan said the government is doing its best to address the issue, explaining that it has supported vocational training programs and disseminated information “to explain to people the dangers of trafficking”.

But opposition lawmaker Mu Sochua said the Kingdom’s oversaturated job market perpetuates the modern slavery identified in the report.

Unskilled labour, she said, “is the labour that can be easily exploited”.

A lack of job centres and shelters contribute to the problem, she said, adding that the “national budget is of concern . . . investment in the social sector is still lower than defence and security”.

Sochua said that, as well as domestically, thousands of Cambodians are pushed into slavery abroad, citing women forced into marriage in China, and the exploitation of unskilled migrant workers in Thailand.

“A cycle of debt pushes young people to make a choice that is not their choice.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Kingdom's Covid cluster cases jump to 194

    The Ministry of Health on February 25 confirmed 65 new cases of Covid-19, with 58 linked to the February 20 community transmission. The latest cluster cases include nine Vietnamese nationals, five Cambodians, one each from Korea, Singapore and Japan, with the rest being Chinese. This brings the total number

  • Locations shut, dozens more Covid-19 positive

    The Ministry of Health has closed 23 locations in connection with the February 20 community transmission of Covid-19 and summoned for testing anyone who had direct contact with affected people and places. The number of discovered related infections has risen to 76, including 39 women. In a press release,

  • Cambodia's Covid cluster cases rise to 137

    The Ministry of Health on February 24 recorded 40 more cases of Covid-19, with 38 linked to the February 20 community transmission. Of the 40, two are imported cases involving Chinese passengers. The 38 include two Vietnamese nationals and one Cambodian, with the rest being Chinese. This brings the total cases

  • Covid cluster raises alarm, health bodies urge vigilance

    The Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia have expressed great concern over the February 20 cluster transmission of Covid-19 in the community. Both entities appealed for vigilance and cooperation in curbing further spread of the virus. Ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine said

  • AstraZeneca jabs touch down in Phnom Penh airport

    The first shipment of 324,000 doses of the AstraZeneca/SII vaccine which was provided through the Covid-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) Facility was delivered to Phnom Penh International Airport on March 2. The rest of the COVAX provided vaccines will arrive in Cambodia at a later date.

  • Preah Sihanouk hit with travel ban

    Preah Sihanouk Provincial Administration has announced a temporary travel ban to and from the province, except for ambulances and trucks transporting goods. The announcement came after prime minister Hun Sen called on people in the province to travel only if necessary, and that people not