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Initiative aimed at curbing begging

A campaign poster hangs from the side of a transport cart earlier this month at the border town of Poipet, where Thai and Cambodian authorities are targeting human trafficking and child exploitation
A campaign poster hangs from the side of a transport cart earlier this month at the border town of Poipet, where Thai and Cambodian authorities are targeting human trafficking and child exploitation. PHOTO SUPPLIED

Initiative aimed at curbing begging

Thai and Cambodian authorities at the Poipet border crossing are working together on a campaign to diminish human trafficking and child exploitation on the border.

Though giving money to a child begging at the border may feel like a charitable act, Sim Sam Ath, chief of Poipet International border checkpoint, said yesterday, posters now plastered up in areas near both sides explain that these children are likely being manipulated.

“Human trafficking is a crime; stop giving money to children. Stop doing good deeds by committing sins,” one poster reads in Khmer and Thai.

Sam Ath added that people may want to think twice before giving money to any beggar on the Cambodian-Thai border. Some people soliciting money are actually thieves posing as panhandlers. Although they may look sympathetic, he added, some of the downtrodden asking for help are getting more out of the exchange than the benefactor intended.

“It’s too anarchic; under the guise of begging, some steal from visitors,” Sam Ath said. “They steal passports, cameras, money and other things; thus, we are working together on the matter.”

Pich Vanna, chairman of the Cambodian-Thai border relations office, said the measure was to maintain security for tourists and others crossing the border, and would help ensure “peace” during the planned ASEAN economic integration.

However, Chorn Sokunthear, head of the women’s and children’s section of the rights group Adhoc, said the governments should be focussing their attention on punishing those who exploit cross-border workers.

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