Each year, the U.S. State Department publishes its Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report which ranks every country on a descending 1-3 scale in terms of demonstrated commitment to combatting human trafficking. The review period for the 2024 report is now well underway. Despite the continued flourishing of a state-facilitated industry of human trafficking-enabled scamming and money laundering in Cambodia, sources within U.S. Embassy Phnom Penh are signaling publicly and privately their desire to see the “Kingdom of Wonder” upgraded.
Certainly, this is not due to any legitimate or tangible reform. Reports of trafficking into Cambodia’s massive scam industry are on the rise with instability rocking Myanmar’s adjacent industry, and criminal investors seeking a more stable operating environment. Police are re-trafficking “rescued” victims en masse. The National Committee for Counter-Trafficking has devolved into an ineffectual spin shop – alternately denying the scale of the issue and petitioning donors for money to combat it.