The Cambodian government has two months to complete a set of US anti-human trafficking
objectives in order to avoid sanctions, NGO representatives recently reported.
The announcement came after Cambodia was downgraded to tier three on the US State
Department's anti-human trafficking list in early June.
The department cited the Cambodian government's handling of the Afesip case, as well
as a perception that senior government officials are going unpunished for their involvement
in human trafficking, as reasons for the downgrade.
At a meeting in the US Embassy June 14, embassy representatives briefed NGO workers
on the new anti-trafficking requirements. They said that the government had 60 days
(starting June 3) to complete the following objectives:
1. Arrest 10 traffickers, three of which must be convicted.
2. Arrest five senior government officials involved in trafficking.
3. Rescue 100 victims of trafficking.
4. Launch a full and transparent investigation into Afesip's Chai Hour II case.
5. Close five establishments that offer victims of trafficking.
NGO representatives said many at the meeting reacted negatively to the new requirements.
"You cannot measure commitment to anti-trafficking based on such demands,"
said one NGO worker who attended the meeting and spoke on condition of anonymity.
"This could lead to a really negative effect on the big picture."