Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Kingdom’s anti-human trafficking work lauded



Kingdom’s anti-human trafficking work lauded

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
US ambassador Patrick Murphy (fifth from left), and interior ministry secretary of state Chou Bun Eng take a group photo after their meeting on Friday. Interior Ministry

Kingdom’s anti-human trafficking work lauded

The Cambodian government has made significant progress in combating human trafficking over the past year, according to US and Cambodian officials, as the Kingdom prepares to receive results of a new evaluation from Washington.

Chou Bun Eng, Ministry of Interior secretary of state and permanent vice-chair of the National Committee for Counter Trafficking (NCCT), told The Post that she had met with US ambassador Patrick Murphy on January 22 to review the government’s progress in combating human trafficking and discuss persistent challenges and solutions.

She noted that the Kingdom had exceeded previous recommendations made by the US and expressed hope that results of new evaluations would view the country more favourably.

“We have done more than what the US has recommended. We hope that our hard work will lead to better results than what we have achieved previously. We have tried very hard and have done just as the evaluators wanted. We do not yet know if our progress has met their requirements as they normally have their own conditions for scoring,” she said.

Cambodia was ranked as a second-tier country on the US Watch List each of the past two years. The US Department of State says such a ranking shows that the Cambodian government had not fully met minimum standards for the elimination of human trafficking.

Last year’s report noted that the Cambodian government was making significant strides towards compliance. These efforts included continuing to prosecute and convict traffickers, establishing a new five-year action plan to combat trafficking and developing and utilising new technologies for victim identification and data collection.

Bun Eng stated: “With regard to criminal justice, the courts have accelerated processes including sentencing. For law enforcement, despite Covid-19, investigations continue. We also continue to repatriate victims who have suffered from job losses and associated hardships including having been arrested and fined. We have done a lot of work.”

She explained that the US issued recommendations for the Cambodian government to implement actions on 17 points comprising five priorities, and the government has made efforts to progress beyond those areas.

“We are also learning what is most important to the US side. Through our discussions, I think we understand each other well. The ambassador expressed understanding of the problems we face and the actions the government has taken. Still, he does not dare to make any claims [regarding results] because the evaluator is in Washington,” Bun Eng said.

Participants agreed that Cambodia made strong efforts and progress to curb human trafficking last year, despite the focus of the national agenda shifting to Covid-19, the return of more than 100,000 migrant workers who have lost their jobs and income abroad, some of whom with Covid-19 infections.

The ministries have also sought to enact measures to deter instances of migration which might be vulnerable to trafficking, she said.

On January 25, the National Police released information about Bun Eng and Murphy’s meeting, quoting the US ambassador as saying he was pleased to get to know more about Cambodia’s efforts and engage in discussions reflecting on the process of combating trafficking.

US embassy spokesman Chad Roedemeier said embassy officials regularly meet with Cambodian authorities and civil society groups to discuss how they can work together to combat the scourge of human trafficking.

“Human trafficking affects people in every country on earth, and the US is working with Cambodia to prosecute traffickers, protect victims and prevent human trafficking crimes.

“Through USAID, for over 10 years, the US has supported the [Cambodian] government and civil society efforts to tackle the root causes of trafficking, support victims and raise awareness,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Kingdom's Covid cluster cases jump to 194

    The Ministry of Health on February 25 confirmed 65 new cases of Covid-19, with 58 linked to the February 20 community transmission. The latest cluster cases include nine Vietnamese nationals, five Cambodians, one each from Korea, Singapore and Japan, with the rest being Chinese. This brings the total number

  • Locations shut, dozens more Covid-19 positive

    The Ministry of Health has closed 23 locations in connection with the February 20 community transmission of Covid-19 and summoned for testing anyone who had direct contact with affected people and places. The number of discovered related infections has risen to 76, including 39 women. In a press release,

  • Preah Sihanouk hit with travel ban

    Preah Sihanouk Provincial Administration has announced a temporary travel ban to and from the province, except for ambulances and trucks transporting goods. The announcement came after prime minister Hun Sen called on people in the province to travel only if necessary, and that people not

  • Cambodia's Covid cluster cases rise to 137

    The Ministry of Health on February 24 recorded 40 more cases of Covid-19, with 38 linked to the February 20 community transmission. Of the 40, two are imported cases involving Chinese passengers. The 38 include two Vietnamese nationals and one Cambodian, with the rest being Chinese. This brings the total cases

  • AstraZeneca jabs touch down in Phnom Penh airport

    The first shipment of 324,000 doses of the AstraZeneca/SII vaccine which was provided through the Covid-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) Facility was delivered to Phnom Penh International Airport on March 2. The rest of the COVAX provided vaccines will arrive in Cambodia at a later date.

  • Covid cluster raises alarm, health bodies urge vigilance

    The Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia have expressed great concern over the February 20 cluster transmission of Covid-19 in the community. Both entities appealed for vigilance and cooperation in curbing further spread of the virus. Ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine said