Cambodia remains a source of human trafficking, the US State Department said in an annual report, keeping the country as a “Tier 2” country that “does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking.”
“However, it is making significant efforts to do so,” according to the annual Trafficking in Persons report, released Tuesday.
Cambodia continues to prosecute sex trafficking cases, the report said, citing the convictions of 20 trafficking offenders in 2011. But it has done so at a much slower pace, with 36 prosecutions the year before.
“Cambodia is a source, transit and destination country for men, women and children who are subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking,” the report said. “Cambodian men, women and children migrate to Thailand, Malaysia and other countries for work, and many are subsequently subjected to sex trafficking or forced to labor in the Thai fishing and seafood processing industry, on agricultural plantations, in factories, in domestic work or for begging and street selling.”
The report noted ongoing corruption at all levels of government, which thwarts efforts to crack down on trafficking.
In a ceremony Tuesday, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave awards to ten people, including former trafficking victim Prum Vannak Anan, a Cambodia man who survived forced labor aboard a fishing vessel off Malaysia.
Speaking to VOA Khmer in Washington Tuesday, Prum Vannak Anan, 34, said he felt “honored” to receive the reward. He said he spent three years aboard a fishing vessel after he was lured there with promises of work. He has spent time since his escape drawing pictures of his ordeal to raise awareness in Cambodia of the perils of forced labor.
Keat Chantharith, a spokesman for the national police, said authorities have a commitment to stop human trafficking in Cambodia and have made gradual improvements.
“This is not to satisfy the US,” he said, “but the main purpose is to protect the fate of Cambodia.”