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Child victims speak up

Child victims speak up

Children who had been sold into sex work, forced begging and domestic servitude-as

well as those from high-risk areas for trafficking-met in Phnom Penh to create a

plan to battle Cambodia's trade in humans.

Over 50 Cambodians, age 12 to 17, helped create an "agenda for action"

during the National Children's Forum on Promoting Action Against Child Trafficking

in Cambodia, held September. 9-10 at the National Institute of Public Health.

Collaborating in small groups, the children developed a list of priorities for the

Government and civil society, including better monitoring of marriage to foreigners

and strengthening of the public education system.

"I was very happy to participate because in my province there is much trafficking

and child abuse," said Sovann Vereak, 15, from the Mesang District. "We

raised these points so the government will take action."

Their recommendations will be presented to government officials. But organizers cautioned

at the closing ceremony, it is up to the government to implement the children's suggestions.

"The question is not just whether we let children participate and communicate,"

said forum committee member Mark Capaldi, "but how well we listen to what they

say."

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