Secretary of state and permanent vice-chair of the National Committee for Counter Trafficking of Cambodia (NCCT), Chou Bun Eng, said on Thursday that despite the challenges of Covid-19, it stopped 79 cases of human trafficking and sexual exploitation.
“When it comes to the crackdown, in the six months of this year, we stopped 79 cases of human trafficking – an increase of one case from 78 in the same period last year.
“We cracked down on 29 cases of human trafficking associated with 36 suspects [three foreigners]. Of the 29 cases, there are 190 victims.
“This year, sexual exploitation cases dropped by 16 cases from 66 to 50, because many entertainment services have been suspended,” she said.
Bun Eng further said there were not many cases of international human trafficking because the borders of neighbouring countries had been closed and many flights cancelled.
But even though Thailand had closed its borders to Cambodia to stop Covid-19 infections, nearly 1,000 Cambodians were cheated by brokers. They had tried to enter Thailand, but Thailand sent them back.
Bun Eng said: “Those arrested are victims of human trafficking because they got cheated by brokers who trafficked them for profit.
“They [the migrants] cannot find jobs. They have just paid money to brokers who said they will take the victims to meet with employers. But when they arrive in Thailand, they got nothing but were arrested and sent back.”
She encouraged citizens considering going to Thailand to stay vigilant against schemes because they stand to lose money.
Minister of the Interior and NCCT chairman Sar Kheng said at an NCCT meeting on Thursday: “Working groups should please enforce the law. Continue to monitor and investigate human trafficking brokers and identify their new scams to crack down on them in time.
“Additionally, all police units should strengthen discipline and maintain the dignity of forces. Avoid doing wrong. Strengthen professional ethics and orders that lead to a possible penalty.”
He recommended that the working group against human trafficking and relevant authorities compile and share systematic and national-level data smoothly to solve issues. They should especially share the issues with the international community, he said.
Sar Kheng requested better relations between relevant units. Hopefully, data on penalties for human trafficking will be sent quickly to the general secretariat of the NCCT.
“All ministries, institutions, units at national and sub-national levels should continue to cooperate and support implementing policies and measures of the government strictly to overcome obstacles and challenges,” he said.