Gov’t to Issue Order to Curb Human Trafficking

The Council of Ministers is is­suing an order to crack down on hu­man trafficking, a cabinet spokesman said Friday.

Spokesman Penn Thol said the directive is being prompted by “inactivity” among government institutions and a lack of cooperation and “conscience” especially in fighting the trafficking of wo­men and children.

He indicated the order will in­struct relevant ministries to cooperate to stop trafficking, and to penalize officials, police, soldiers and others who collude to prevent enforcement efforts.

Penn Thol said the Ministry of Women’s Affairs and NGOs also are being urged to form volunteer groups to help fight trafficking.

Exact details of the order were not disclosed.

A copy of the directive won’t be disclosed until it it is formally signed, he said. It was unclear whether new legislation would be drafted.

Despite a brothel crackdown in Phnom Penh earlier this year, government initiatives to stop trafficking are failing, experts said at a conference in June.

“Very few traffickers or brothel owners have been arrested,” Leonard De Vos, Unicef representative in Cambodia, said at the time. “Of those who have been arrested, only a few have been sent to court, very few have been sentenced and fined, and of those sent to jail, very few have completed their terms in jail.”

Dozens of brothels have re­mained open, or have re-opened under the guise of karaoke bars, since the crackdown in Phnom Penh.

Penn Thol said the directive also will instruct the relevant ministries to draft treaties with other countries on extradition issues.

An international organization estimated in June that as many as 82,000 Cambodians were living and working in Thailand, many of whom are subject either to economic or sexual exploitation.

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