Trafficking on Rise in Region, Agency Reports

Human trafficking has increas­ed throughout the Mekong re­gion, including an increase in Cambodian children forced into Vietnamese begging rings, participants of a two-day conference were told Monday.

The International Office of Mig­ration plans to expand its operations throughout the region with the help of $2.5 million donated by Aus­tralia to stop it. A “sharp in­crease” of trafficking of women and children between Burma, Cambodia, China, Thailand and Vietnam made expansion necessary, said Kiki van Kessel, regional project coordinator for the IOM.

“IOM in the past focused on Cambodia,” she said. “Now, we have to work for other countries.”

Last year, more than 600 Cam­bodians were repatriated through the organization, though some of those were trafficked again.

With the new funding, the IOM plans to expand its programs, which include capacity building of local officials, return and reintegration, and research, she said.

Cambodia is a target for foreign traffickers, especially Thailand.

Nearly 18,000 Cambodians were trafficked to Thailand last year, Unicef reported. Of those, about 2,600 were children.

Minister of Social Affairs Ith Samheng blamed the problem on the country’s pervasive poverty and a lack of vocational training among the rural poor. They easily tricked by recruiters from other countries, he said.


Related Stories

Latest News