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US Fears Corruption Hamper Cambodia's Anti-Trafficking Efforts


A U.S. high ranking official for human trafficking warns that corruption in Cambodia is an obstacle to anti-human trafficking campaign, and pushes for punishment on those officials responsible for this offense and stop corruption.

State Department's Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons' director John Miller says this after the State Department releases its annual report on human trafficking and Cambodia is being upgraded from tier 3 to tier 2 watch list, and be at the same level as other 31 countries among more than 100 countries that are classified in tier 1, or 2 . Tier 3 is the worst level.

Mr. Miller says that there are many reasons behind human trafficking practices in Cambodia, such as poverty, other general aspects, but one important issue is corruption.

He says that there are many causes of trafficking in Cambodia, of course poverty, attitude in general, but one of the major causes is corruption, and if you have corruption it is very difficult to combat trafficking. Corruption has been widespread in Cambodia, and that not comes to surprise you to hear me say that.

Cambodia is being included as a country with serious problems, human trafficking, human smuggling, sex exploitation, internal and external labor outsourcing.

People in the countryside are victims of being lured to the cities under the pretext of being offered better jobs. In 2005, arrests were made and the perpetrators were punished for 45 human trafficking offenders.

In Mr. Miller's words: " But this is organized criminal activities. It does't go on without big people being involved and we want to see some prosecutions in Cambodia that get out of corruption related to trafficking.

There is no immediate reaction from Prime Minister Hun Sen to Mr. Miller's comments, but Cambodian Ambassador to the U.S. Ek Sereywath says that the Cambodian government is taking anti-corruption measures.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says at the annual report opening ceremony that, today under President Bush's leadership, this vision leads us into the world to help people everywhere secure greater peace, freedom, and justice for themselves. She continues that we are pressing countries into action which each year more and more governments are increasing public awareness of the crime targeting and prosecuting the perpetrators and helping victims to rebuiltd their lives. She says that up to now, the U.S. has about $400 million in its budget for anti-trafficking campaign.

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