The Cambodian National Council for Children (CNCC) and relevant partner organisations on June 20 held a workshop in Kampong Chhnang province on human trafficking, exchanging experiences and raising awareness on helping children should they face problems and preventing exploitation.

The workshop was organised by CNCC secretary-general Nheb Sopheap at the Kampong Chhnang Provincial Hall under the theme “Human and Child Trafficking, Safe Migrants, Children’s Rights, Child Protection and Laws”.

It was attended by 50 representatives from the provincial council, the provincial Department of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation, along with local authorities and civil society organisations (CSOs).

Sopheap said the workshop had been organised with the aim of presenting laws, documents and regulations related to children’s rights to strengthen law enforcement and take better measures.

“The workshop was held to increase cooperation with partner organisations, authorities and relevant stakeholders to exchange experiences on child protection with those working on issues such as human trafficking and safe migration learning to strengthen any weaknesses found,” she said.

The workshop not only focused on Kampong Chhnang, but all provinces with issues regarding children’s rights, with different challenges in each, she added.

“Normally, children always help their parents. They can help after school and not do hard work, but they should not drop out of school or go abroad for work. There might be some children working with parents to earn money instead of going to school,” Sopheap said.

She added that the Covid-19 lockdowns and school closures placed great stress on families, with children at a greater risk of violence, so the authorities need to increase awareness among parents and teachers.

She said children’s issues were a matter for everyone, requiring different sectors to work together to promote the rights of children and develop their capabilities in line with national policies and the UN.

“We have to make sure children have the sufficient rights to self-development. If we develop the national roads, we will see the benefits in the next two or three years, but with children, we will not see the results for 10 years or more.

“Children are a resource for national development, so it requires inter-sectoral participation to see what is needed from the respective sectors,” she said.

According to Sopheap, the Cambodian government’s commitment to children has proven successful on the international stage, with the Kingdom respecting both national and international laws, and encouraging children to have full rights while reducing the challenges they face.

“We have national policy on child protection up to 10 years, and we have a plan for the next five years, so it evolves step by step and is something we regularly monitor.

“In Cambodia, after the ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, there is an obligation to report to the UN, and our child status reports are made annually by the government,” she said.

Separately, the CNCC also organised a two-day “National Child Protection Commission Meeting to Discuss, Monitor and Evaluate” in Siem Reap on June 21-22.

The purpose of the meeting was to promote cooperation and increase the participation of ministries and institutions between working groups and inter-ministerial groups to implement the Convention on the Rights of the Child effectively and efficiently.

The duties and responsibilities of the working groups in areas under the scope of the National Child Protection Commission for implementation were also to be defined.