The Ministry of Foreign affairs on Friday said a report by the US State Department on trafficking has again ranked Cambodia in Tier 2, adding that the US recognised that Cambodia has made a serious effort in combating human trafficking.
A statement from the ministry said that Tier 2 countries are those where the government does not fully meet the Trafficking Victims Protection Act’s standards, but are making an effort to comply.
“The government of Cambodia does not meet the minimum standards in eliminating trafficking but is making significant effort,” the statement said. “The government has demonstrated increasing efforts compared to the previous year, therefore Cambodia remained in Tier 2.”
It added that that the prosecution of traffickers, repatriation of victims, raising awareness and taking steps toward safe migration all played a role in improving the situation.
The State Department report said that over the past five years, Cambodia has become a source, transit point and destination for men, women and children subjected to forced labour and sex trafficking. According to the report, 207 traffickers were jailed in 2017.
A report by the National Committee for Counter Trafficking said that this year alone, 129 traffickers have been convicted.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in the report that this year’s focus was on effective ways for local communities to address human trafficking and how the government could empower them.
Mr Pompeo added that local communities are the most affected and that they are the first line of defence against human trafficking.
“Modern slavery has no place in the world, and I intend to ensure, through diplomatic engagement and increased action that the United States government’s leadership in combating this global threat is sustained in the years to come,” he said in the report.
Chou Bun Eng, chair of the NCCT, said yesterday that the government should accept the report, noting that human trafficking in Cambodia is rampant despite efforts to curb the crime.
“Human traffickers always have new tricks, new networks, and that’s why the government must apply more scrutiny to crackdown on human trafficking,” Ms Bun Eng said.
Moeun Tola, president of rights group Central, said yesterday that being ranked in Tier 2 leaves a lot of room for improvement.
“There are still human trafficking cases and complaints filed by victims. Our labour forces are still being exploited,” Mr Tola said.