Interior Minister Sar Kheng yesterday called on all Cambodians to join in the fight against human trafficking.
Mr Kheng made the call during the 2nd Annual National Inter-Faith Forum on Combating Trafficking in Persons in Phnom Penh.
Attended by about 2,000 Catholics, Protestants, Buddhists and Muslims, he said that religious communities should participate in preventing human trafficking.
“We can’t only depend on the National Committee for Counter Trafficking or competent authorities,” Mr Kheng said. “We hope that we will all participate in countering human trafficking.”
NCCT vice chair Chou Bun Eng said human trafficking was a sensitive topic that every country in the world had to learn to deal with.
According to a report by the United Nations, there have been 12 million victims of human trafficking, human rights abuse and exploitation in Asia-Pacific alone.
Ms Bun Eng said many people in the region are still exposed to the risk.
“Many migrant workers were imprisoned and they were accused of crimes, and some were deprived of their right to contact their family,” she said. “Our government officials are working hard to counter all forms of trafficking.”
Ms Bun Eng added that in the last three months, 40 cases of human trafficking were put to rest.
“Now we cooperate with neighbouring countries, who are our partners in cracking down on human trafficking in the region,” she said.
The Ministry of Foreign affairs last month 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.
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.
During the forum’s closing, representatives of all four religions prayed together for the prevention of human trafficking in Cambodia.