Police Claim Decline in Human Trafficking Cases

A crackdown on human trafficking in Cambodia is succeeding, with a decline in cases so far in 2008 compared to the same period in 2007, the Interior Ministry’s anti-human trafficking police department Director Bith Kimhong claimed Thursday.

The claim met with mixed responses from anti-trafficking groups Friday, who while broadly welcoming an increase in commitment and activity on the part of the authorities against traffickers, said there was little evidence to prove that it was declining.

“We have cracked down on many cases of trafficking in 2008 with the result that there is less trafficking this year compared to the same period last year,” Bith Kimhong said.

End Child Prostitution, Abuses and Trafficking Executive Director Chin Chanveasna said Friday that while the types of trafficking activities in Cambodia were diversifying and going more underground he was “optimistic” that there was a slight decline as a result of an increased activities by local authorities and police.

Though there is no data to demonstrate this yet, he said.

Bith Kimhong also said that he wanted anti-trafficking groups to provide training to local authorities, especially local police, about the new anti-trafficking laws, which came into force in February.

Two anti-human trafficking training courses were held earlier this year for municipal and provincial police chiefs, provincial governors and provincial anti-human trafficking bureau chiefs, however new training course should focus on lower level officials, he said.

Samleang Seila, country director of the anti-pedophile NGO Action Pour Les Enfants, said he agreed that the situation with trafficking in Cambodia was improving a little.

“There have been more arrests and successful prosecutions,” he said. However, he warned that this was “just a beginning of a success.”

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