Lorreta Sanchez, a Democratic congressional representative from California, begins a short visit to Cambodia today, where she plans to spend two days in Siem Reap province to look into child trafficking, officials said.
Sanchez is the vice chairwoman of the House of Representatives’ Homeland Security Committee. A US Embassy spokesman confirmed her visit but declined to give more details.
A representative for a human rights organization, who asked not to be named, said Sanchez is scheduled to visit healthcare centers and an orphanage and to meet victims of trafficking.
The trip follows a gathering of 250 women from 30 US states last month who lobbied congressional representatives to do more to fight child trafficking and high infant and maternal mortality rates.
Cambodia is a favorite destination for child traffickers and pedophiles, and the government has made a number of arrests of Americans in recent years.
The US estimates a total of 1 million children are trafficked globally each year into the sex trade, with another 1.2 million trafficked into child labor. An estimated 24,000 children die each day from preventable diseases like diarrhea, measles and malaria.