Prime Minister Hun Sen on Tuesday criticized ‘’rich and powerful’’ countries which have not found remedies to drug and human trafficking problems within their own borders and scolded those nations for purportedly ‘’blaming small countries’’ like Cambodia.
His verbal attack on Western countries came in a speech at a graduation ceremony of medical students, and some two months after the U.S. State Department publicly criticized and formally reprimanded the Hun Sen government for its lack of action against human traffickers and the apparent complicity of some of its officials and police and military officials in human trafficking and human smuggling.
Hun Sen pointed out that more illegal drugs were consumed in ‘’those countries’’ than in Cambodia. He noted that ‘’hundreds of tons’’ of drugs were being trafficked into North America from countries such as Colombia, and that in the ‘’American continent’’ young girls routinely were ‘’tricked’’ into accepting ‘’good jobs’’ in large cities but instead ended up as ‘’sex slaves at hotels.’’ In some ‘’acts,’’ it’s one girl for three men, he said, adding people behave like ‘’animals.’’
U.S. Embassy spokesman in Phnom Penh, David Gainer, said he had no comment on Hun Sen’s statements.
Keo Remy, an opposition lawmaker, said Hun Sen ‘’should not get upset’’ and instead ‘’should accept’’ recent criticism from the U.S. ‘’constructively’’ and ‘’take action to stop’’ Cambodia’s growing problems with trafficking of drugs and humans. Keo Remy acknowledged that developed countries continue to struggle with the same problems but emphasized that they ‘’at least have the rule of law to deal with these issues.’’ He rapped Hun Sen for being ‘’pessimistic’’ and suggested he ‘’face problems in his own homeland.’’
Keo Remy said Western nations know well that Cambodia’s efforts to create a just society built on ‘’rule of law’’ are dragging slowly and that they periodically point out shortcomings of the Cambodian government to illustrate why reform is necessary.
Cambodia was ranked by the U.S. State Department along with 13 other nations as the worst afflicted by rampant human trafficking.