Prime Minister Hun Sen has given instructions to various ministries to develop measures to fight against the trafficking of women and children.
In the instructions dated Sept 29, Hun Sen said the Ministry of Women and Veterans’ Affairs and the Ministry of Justice must cooperate to develop several laws or subdecrees to prevent trafficking.
The prime minister also ordered the Ministry of Women Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Justice and Ministry of Interior to work together to create measures to address forced marriages and migrant labor, which are some of the reasons behind trafficking.
The Ministry of Social Affairs also must cooperate with other ministries to prepare draft laws on child adoptions abroad, and the Ministry of Social Affairs must find orphans and put them in orphanages, Hun Sen said.
Prum Thary, program director of the NGO Krousar Thmey, which assists children, said Wednesday that Hun Sen’s instructions should be implemented immediately. “The real issue is getting justice in the courts,” he said.
Cambodia has a 3-year-old law against trafficking that includes a maximum 15-year prison sentence and a maximum 20-year sentence if the victims are under 15 years old.
In September in the first trial on cross-border trafficking in Cambodia, Seng Savoeun was sentenced to 15 years in prison in Banteay Meanchey for trafficking a 2-year-old girl, a 4-year-old boy and a 7-year-old girl into Thailand to work as beggars.
Eva Galabru, director of the human rights group Licadho, said the prosecution of Seng Savoeun seems like an isolated case, and officials need to have the political will to arrest the leaders of trafficking rings. “There are harsh sentences, but they are only for the small fish,” Eva Galabru said.
Hun Sen also said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs must cooperate with the Ministry of Interior to prepare a treaty on bilateral extradition with other countries to bring traffickers to justice.
The Ministry of Justice also must monitor every court case regarding human trafficking and report the results to the government, Hun Sen said.
The Ministry of Womens Affairs must cooperate with the Ministry of Social Affairs and the Ministry of Interior to set up offices countrywide to receive information on trafficking and help intervene for the victims.
Hun Sen also said the Ministry of Interior should increase the number of women police officers, and the Ministry of Information must release information on radio and TV related to the prevention of child trafficking.
About 82,000 of the 1 million undocumented workers in Thailand are Cambodian, according to the International Organization for Migration.
It is unknown how many are in Thailand because of trafficking. Of the 10,000 to 13,000 Cambodians who are deported annually from Thailand, 50 percent are children.