Regional countries need to take more steps to reduce human trafficking and illegal immigration, experts meeting in Phnom Penh said Wednesday.
More than 100 anti-trafficking authorities, diplomats and rights groups from across the region met to discuss the problems of trafficking to solve a complicated problem that spans borders.
Bith Kimhong, chief of the Ministry of Interior’s anti-trafficking department, called trafficking a “global issue” that is difficult to fight.
Traffickers have modern means of moving people illegally, he said.
“Human trafficking is caused by distant economies between countries,” he said, and it takes place in countries where sophisticated criminal groups operate. It is also a cross-border crime, he said. He cited poverty and lack of education as other reasons behind trafficking.
The US lists Cambodia among those countries that need to do more to combat trafficking—which generally means Cambodians being trafficked abroad.
Cambodia experiences trafficking from rural areas into towns, and from towns to neighboring countries and beyond, Bith Kimhong said.
From 2008 to 2009, the government deported only 11 illegal Vietnamese immigrants, according Prak Chanthoeurn, director general of technical affairs at the Ministry of Social Affairs.
Vietnam, meanwhile, had sent back 773 trafficking victims, including 264 children, 251 “young girls,” 183 women, and 75 men, he said. In the same period, Thailand sent back 114 people.