Gov’t Publishes Guides to Fighting Trafficking

The Tourism Ministry launched handbooks and worksheets to assist government ministries and NGOs with preventing human trafficking and sexual exploitation in the tourism sector Monday.

The documents—which include a strategic plan for policymakers, a training manual and operational guidelines for tourist establishments—are part of the ministry’s ongoing campaign to combat child sex tourism, said Hor Sarun, deputy director general for administration and finance at the Tourism Ministry.

The strategy includes surveillance mechanisms for hotels, guesthouses and other establishments to report suspicious activity to police or tourism officials, he said. It also includes guidelines on labor practices to help combat trafficking and exploitation.

The books will be distributed to the Labor, Social Affairs, Women’s Affairs and Interior ministries as well as NGOs working in Phnom Penh, Sihanoukville and Siem Reap, Hor Sarun said.

Philip Setkao, president of the Cambodian Hotel Association and general manager of Borei Angkor Hotel in Siem Reap, welcomed the Tourism Ministry’s initiative. “It’s good for awareness that [child sex tourism] is not the business that the country wants,” he said.

Tourism Minister Thong Khon said at the Monday launch that child sexual exploitation was a negative outcome of Cambodia’s booming tourism sector that officials were working to combat.

Kristy Fleming of the UN Inter-Agency Project on Human Traf­ficking in the Greater Mekong Sub-region said that the campaign should target domestic and regional as well as international tourism.

Regulations and training must be matched with penalties for violators to be successful, said Thetis Man­gahas of the International Labor Organization’s Mekong sub-re­gional project to combat trafficking, which supported the development of the materials.

Mu Sochua, SRP secretary-general and former minister of Wo­men’s Affairs, agreed that prevention would require prosecution of sex traffickers. “Trafficking cannot be done in one corner—it’s a whole package…that includes prosecution and protection of victims,” she said.

 

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