The Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Cults and Religions, along with other pertinent institutions, are preparing for the 7th annual Interfaith Day, due on August 20.

The key focus this year is the fight against human trafficking in Cambodia, leveraging the power of faith-based education to instil moral virtues and thus deter unlawful acts.

On July 10, the National Committee for Counter Trafficking of Cambodia (NCCT) announced that discussions had been underway between the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Religions and Cults, NCCT, Caritas Cambodia, and representatives from Muslim, Christian, and Buddhist communities. These talks centred around leveraging Interfaith Day as a platform to combat human trafficking in Cambodia.

Chou Bun Eng, the Ministry of Interior’s secretary of state and permanent vice-chair of the NCCT, stated on July 11 that this annual event, now in its seventh year, was a vital national programme, held nationwide.

“We believe that religious teachings play a vital role in educating and instilling mental fortitude in people. When individuals receive this moral education, practise virtues, and conduct themselves well in society, they are less likely to engage in unlawful acts,” she said.

“It is crucial that we unite to foster harmony among all people, thereby safeguarding them from falling prey to human trafficking,” Bun Eng emphasised.

During the discussions to decide the theme of the day, Bun Eng confirmed that the July 10 talks encompassed both peace and human trafficking issues.

Reflecting on last year’s National Interfaith Forum, Prime Minister Hun Sen asserted his conviction that campaigns to crack down on illegal gambling could substantially contribute to reducing human trafficking, enhancing village and commune safety.

“The best way to eliminate illegal gambling at the grassroots level was to eradicate drug dealing there. These are crucial components in the fight against human trafficking,” he stressed.

In a significant announcement, Hun Sen declared the national observance of Interfaith Day annually on August 20. He emphasised that the day’s themes should not only observed on August 20 but indeed every day, underlining the continuous effort needed to prevent and combat human trafficking in Cambodia.