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CSOs sign MoUs to tackle crimes against children

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Chou Bun Eng, secretary of state and permanent vice-chair of the National Committee for Counter-Trafficking . Heng Chivoan

CSOs sign MoUs to tackle crimes against children

The Ministry of Interior and the National Committee for Counter-Trafficking (NCCT) have signed memoranda of understandings (MoUs) with five civil society organisations working on human trafficking, to promote the signees’ common goal of preventing crimes against children.

A signing ceremony at the Ministry of Interior on Thursday was led by Chou Bun Eng, secretary of state and permanent vice-chair of the NCCT.

Bun Eng told The Post that three agreements had been made between the NCCT and the Chab Dai (Joining Hands) Coalition; the Netherlands-Cambodia human rights organisation Terre Des Hommes; and Caritas Cambodia, an official social development arm of the Catholic Church in Cambodia.

Two others were made between the Ministry of Interior and child protection NGO Action Pour Les Enfants (APLE) and the Child Protection Unit (CPU).

The partnerships are intended to help combat human trafficking, all forms of sexual abuse against women and children, and jointly work to promote social welfare.

“This is not the first time that some of the organisations have signed an MoU. Some have renewed their MoU up to three times in a row to assist government work related to the prevention of trafficking in persons and enforcement of penalties.

“Government policy is open to cooperation because many organisations are working to combat human trafficking. Some work with children and some are involved in migration,” Bun Eng said.

APLE country director Samleang Seila, who signed the organisation’s MoU, said: “We are proud to be signing an MoU with the Ministry of Interior. It reflects the recognition of our contribution and our strong partnership with the ministry.”

CPU executive director James McCabe told The Post after renewing a three-year agreement that he would continue to support and work with the government and the National Police in investigating the most serious crimes, especially those committed against children.

“Cambodian authorities are also fighting these offences. The authorities’ procedures and reports demonstrate the government’s commitment to combating crimes against children.

“The Cambodian National Police investigate the most serious crimes committed throughout the country and also cybercrimes against minors,” he said.

McCabe said the police had made arrests in 86 per cent of cases involving crimes against children under the age of 15. “That is an extraordinary achievement. Even western countries cannot achieve this,” he said.

A Ministry of Interior report said that in the first six months of this year, the police rescued 263 victims of sexual assault – an increase of nearly 150 per cent compared to the same period last year.

Of those cases, the report said, 70 involved children under the age of 15, with 31 victims aged between 15 and 18 years old.

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