Most people desire an income, good health and happiness. When these are offered,
few can resist the temptation. This is how children, men and women can be lured,
tricked, coerced and enticed into trafficking every day.
Creating an environment where lucrative offers can be refused is the best prevention
and preventing trafficking is more effective and sustainable than treating the consequences.
A safe environment is one where children are in schools. Children should have access
to quality education and the opportunity to successfully complete primary and secondary
education at a minimum. In the short term, children in schools are less at risk of
being trafficked; in the longer term, their education will protect them from these
and other risks.
During the last three years there has been an impressive increase in the percentage
of children enrolled in primary education. Only around 20 per cent of children, however,
are enrolled in secondary education. Most young people are out of school because
they are helping their families survive, either by earning income themselves, looking
after their siblings or helping with household chores, farming and herding.
Children of poor families are more at risk from trafficking. They are willing to
migrate with their entire families in search of labor and the prospect for income
generation. Therefore, strengthening employment and economic development opportunities
is another crucial approach for preventing human trafficking.
This is a long-term target; but an immediate response could be the establishment
of an organized and regulated labor migration scheme, where men and women are able
to find employment in a safe manner. Another response could be promoting income-generating
opportunities within the communities, to prevent families from migrating and facing
the risk of being trafficked.
Glenn Miles, Children at Risk Facilitator, Tearfund:
Sexual abuse is endemic in Cambodia. In a recent national survey of 1,300 school
children aged 12 to 15 years conducted by Tearfund on behalf of the Child Welfare
Group, 63.8% of children say they know of children who have been raped, 22.4% of
children say they have witnessed the rape of a child and 16.1% of children say they
have been touched on the genitals by an adult after the age of 9 years.
Disturbingly, boys appear to be as equally sexually abused as girls. Millions of
dollars are being invested with the emphasis on aftercare of women and girls following
sexual exploitation, but where are the services (and donors) for rape victims and
for boys? What is being done to educate children about how to protect themselves
from potential rape?
Aarti Kapoor, Legal Advisor, Afesip
Trafficking results from trends set by common people. If individuals were to see
the indirect consequences of their actions as clearly as the direct ones, we might
start making better choices. Every person should ask themselves: If I buy the sexual
services of this person, am I helping to perpetuate the high demand for commercial
sex which in turn helps to create the supply of this and other related "products
When I give this little child some money, will it go to feed her or will it go into
the child's trafficker's pocket? Am I condoning begging that makes children susceptible
to pedophiles? What other activities of the trafficker am I helping to fund?
Am I supporting an industry through buying a product whose actual maker is only given
a small fraction or even none of the price that I am paying for the product? How
is this contributing to the overall condition of those workers who have little other
choices to earn their living?
Thus, am I contributing to factors leading many of these people or their dependents
deciding to pursue alternative careers in trafficking, pimping, corruption and prostitution?
How far down the line will the money leaving my hands be used to a) buy a child;
b) bribe someone; or c) fill the pockets of an exploiter of sex?
Trafficking is not a discrete problem. It is made up of a complex web of immeasurable
issues. It touches everyone. Every person has a capacity to produce consequences.
Unless every individual starts to understand all consequences and make better choices,
we will remain disappointingly redundant.
John Vijghen, Advisor, COSECAM
Going to the root of the problem we must realize that commercial principles apply:
it is a matter of supply and demand. However, the combat is mostly aimed at the supply
side - helping victims, assisting communities to defend themselves, law enforcement.
One example of how to do it better is demonstrated in one district in Sihanoukville
where local officials have established a routine of accompanying young girls when
they are going to look for a job in order to assure that they are not cheated and
Noor Ayesha, Technical Assistant, Center for Social Development
Reduce poverty. The numbers of trafficked victims are much bigger than the traffickers.
The government and international community must work towards reducing poverty from
society; we don't need only paperwork anymore.
The majority of poor people are well aware about traffickers and the miserable consequence
of being trafficked, but only when they escape poverty will they be able to fulfill
their basic human rights. All of us should work for that.
Caroline Bakker, head of the Children in Need program at the United Nations Children's Fund