Cambodia signed an agreement with Vietnam and Laos during a meeting on Thursday to enhance efforts to fight human trafficking—with Vietnam reporting at the meeting that police discovered nearly 90 human trafficking rings along its border with Cambodia last year.
“Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam pushed for closer cooperation to crack down on trafficking rings at borders and, secondly, for cooperation with border police between the three countries,” said Say Mengchheang, deputy director of the Interior Ministry’s anti-human trafficking department, who attended the meeting in Ho Chi Minh City.
At the meeting, Vietnamese police revealed that they uncovered 87 human trafficking rings along the border with Cambodia last year, according to Vietnamese media reports.
According to the U.N. Inter-Agency Project on Human Trafficking, most Cambodian victims of trafficking who are officially repatriated from Vietnam are children.
Over 100 Cambodian children were repatriated last year from Vietnam to the border province of Svay Rieng alone after being forced to work as beggars in Vietnamese cities, according to the International Organization of Migration.
With migrant laborers particularly vulnerable to human trafficking, Thailand remains the most common destination for victims, said Amy Collins, regional prevention project manager for World Vision’s human trafficking project. “There are also an increasing number of Vietnamese and Cambodian women trafficked to China for forced marriage,” she added.
According to experts, brokers are transporting more Cambodian women through Vietnam to reach China, as flights to China by single women have come under increased surveillance.
And despite the commitments made last week by governments in Ho Chi Minh City, official collusion remains a problem, according to the 2015 U.S. Trafficking in Persons Report.