Nine Cambodian children, aged 3 to 13, were returned home from Thailand yesterday after a Thai NGO helped free them from forced begging and flower-selling, a border official said.
Poipet Transit Centre director Chhea Manith said the children – three girls and six boys – had been sent to the border facility in Banteay Meanchey after spending as long as a year working the busy streets of Thailand.
“They were trafficked to work as beggars and flower sellers in Thailand,” she said. “Some of them were cheated by brokers and some went with their parents.
“There is lots of work in this country. If the parents are making them work illegally with their parents in Thailand, then the children’s rights have been abused.”
Manith said the children were fit and healthy and had been sent to the nearby children’s organisation Damnok Tok.
“These children will be kept there until their families can support them and do not force them to work anymore,” she said.
Sith Los, Banteay Meanchey provincial anti-human trafficking and juvenile protection police chief, said yesterday that he had not received any information about the children.
“I will contact Poipet Transit Centre to get detailed information before we start trying to arrest any brokers,” he said.
To contact the reporter on this story: Mom Kunthear at [email protected]