The National Committee for Counter Trafficking (NCCT) has launched its National Plan of Action 2019-2023 to address new forms of human trafficking, including surrogacy and sex trafficking at nightclubs that have emerged through the permeation of the internet.
NCCT secretary of state Chou Bun Eng said although “at one time the authorities cracked down on fewer offences or would sometimes miss their targets during crackdown operations” this was no longer the case.
In the first half of this year, authorities cracked down on 78 cases of sexual exploitation, detaining 97 suspects and rescuing 263 victims.
This is a noticeable increase from the 62 cases in the first half of last year which saw 85 suspects detained and 106 victims rescued, according to NCCT data.
Bun Eng said new forms of sex trafficking and surrogacy had emerged through the internet, while pornography continued to be shared illegally online and entertainment venues continued to secretly offer sex services.
Minister of Interior Sar Kheng said the action plan is also designed to prevent the trafficking of sex, organs and humans, and also combat labour abuse.
“Criminals always adapt to shifting economic and societal trends in their countries like modern technology to psychologically prey on victims.
“This results in difficulties during investigations and crackdown operations. We must create new strategies and act on them to address these problems,” said Sar Kheng, who is also a director at the NCCT.
Sar Kheng said criminals were adept at finding new ways to evade justice, while some police officials work towards finding evidence so that charges were dropped.
He reiterated that the government had never ignored human trafficking and has cracked down on many cases, with suspects being sent to court after investigations.
“Many human trafficking offences still occur. There have been several cases of foreigners engaging in trafficking. The police unrelentingly arrest and deport them back to their countries of origin,” said Bun Eng, who is also an NCCT permanent vice-chair.