Government officials unveiled new plans to combat the trafficking of women Wednesday, focusing on educating victims in problem geographical areas.
“The trafficking of women is considered one aspect of violence against women,’’ Mu Sochua, minister of Women’s Affairs, told NGOs, human rights groups and government officials. ‘‘As we are responsible for the 53 percent of the population that comprises women, we cannot ignore it.’’
The new program will target vulnerable women in 21 districts and precincts in the provinces of Svay Rieng, Banteay Meanchey, and Koh Kong, as well as in Phnom Penh, Sihanoukville and Pailin. All are considered problem spots because of heavy border traffic, high illiteracy rates, brothels, and a transient population, explained You Ay, secretary of state for Ministry of Women’s and Veterans Affairs.
The initiative will educate women about their rights and collect and disseminate information on the scope of the problem. The project will also train hundreds of workers who will report to a counter-trafficking office in the Ministry of Women’s Affairs and learn skills and background needed to help combat the problem.
In addition, the counter-trafficking office also will review existing laws and draft new ones, as greater expertise and statistics on its scope of the problem emerge.
‘‘At the end of the project we will be equipped to plan and implement new activities,’’ said Sat Salim, deputy director of the ministry’s human resources. ‘‘Two thousand staff from national to village-level administrations across six provinces and municipalities will have been trained in legal and socio-economic issues related to trafficking.’’