I’m Jessica, the Education Coordinator for IJM Regent. At our first General Body Meeting I gave a short presentation on human trafficking in Cambodia. I had the privilege of spending three months in Cambodia at an orphanage right outside of the capital, Phnom Pehn. I was able to spend time with young children who were at risk of becoming victims of human trafficking but were now safe within The Life Center (the orphanage started by Empowerment Advocates International). Here is the presentation in a nutshell:
Causes of Human Trafficking in Cambodia– The main reason is poverty. The second is socio-economic imbalance between urban and rural areas. The third is and increase in tourism. The forth is lack of employment. And the last is a lack of education.
Khmer Rouge– The Khmer Rouge was a rebel group in Cambodia from 1975-1979. They killed a third of the population in their efforts to completely eliminate anyone who was educated. The scars of this terrifying genocide is still apparent today. Poverty, fear, hatred, and a fear/lack of education still exists today.
Cambodia– Currently, half the population of Cambodia is under the age of 20. Finding jobs will be difficult for that generation and will increase cross-boarder migration. This will increase the risk of human trafficking.
Types of Trafficking– Forced labor in factories, fields, homes, etc. and Sexual exploitation- a third of those sexually exploited are children.
What is Being Done?– 1996 Law of Suppression of Kidnapping, Trafficking and Exploitation of Humans. The penalty for trafficking those under the age of 15 is 15-20 years in prison and the penalty for trafficking those over the age of 15 is 10-14 years in prison. The Cambodian government is raising awareness through radio, television and billboards. There is, however, corruption in the Cambodian government and if traffickers pay the police of government they will allow trafficking to continue. There was also a law passed in the US enforcing prosecution of any US citizen whom engages in sex-tourism. There are also organizations within Cambodia that help rescue and rehabilitate victims of trafficking.
Srey Pom– Srey Pom is a 16 year old orphan at the orphanage I lived at. Her parents died at a young age and her Uncle took her in. Her Uncle used her as a house servant and abused her. He would often threaten to sell her into sex trafficking. The missionaries we worked with in Cambodia found this young girl and offered her Uncle more money than the traffickers would offer him. He traded Srey Pom for $150 US dollars. Srey Pom is now safe at The Life Center and is able to attend school for the first time in her life.
There is a lot of brokenness and suffering in the country of Cambodia. Please keep this country in your prayers as well as the victims of human trafficking.
(Information from http://www.humantrafficking.org)