C ambodia is facing a growing problem of women and children being smuggled out of
the country by international sex traders.
The country is especially
vulnerable because it shares borders with Vietnam and Thailand, which are
notorious as trafficking points for the sex industry.
"There have been
several reports that girls from Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines, Laos, Burma
and even Russia are victims of trafficking in the region," said Meng Ho Leang,
co-director of Cambodian Institute of Human Rights. "Now Cambodia is being
The country's thriving cross-border trade with Thailand has
enticed many Thai pimps to relocate their operations here.
Margaret de Monchy said pimping rings were being forced out of Thailand
following a police crackdown.
Those who were taken out of the country
were usually taken to Thailand via the southern port city of Koh Kong, close to
the Thai-Cambodia border, according to a 1991 Unicef consultancy
Chan Sobunry, secretary of Ponleu Khmer, a coalition of local
NGOs, said border trading towns like Poipet have become major centers for sex
Although there is no concrete evidence of organized
Cambodian abduction-and-sale rings so far, there is little doubt that they
"From our experience in other countries, we know that such
activity has to be organized with local support at several levels," said an
employee of an international NGO. A powerful drug which induces unconsciousness
has also been found on sale in some parts of Phnom Penh for up to $400 for a
small bottle, a local NGO claimed last week.