Minister Warns Officials on Trafficking

Ros Chanveasna / Khmer Times No Comments Share:

Interior Minister Sar Kheng on Sunday warned that officials alleged to be involved in human trafficking must be quickly taken off cases and shall be penalized according to the law.   
 
Speaking at an event in Phnom Penh marking National Anti-Human Trafficking Day, Mr. Kheng said: “I would like to remind officials who have been colluding or cooperating with offenders involved in human trafficking or relevant criminal issues that they be taken off cases and rehabilitated or be punished under the law.”  
 
In his speech, Mr. Kheng also said he appreciated the efforts being made by government officials, adding that authorities have worked hard with all relevant parties and some also lost their lives while on duty fighting against human trafficking and violence across the country.
 
Combating human trafficking, especially transnational crimes managed by criminal networks, will not be achieved unless there is cooperation with other countries, he said.
 
“We still need to join together with a strong commitment to comprehensively tackle trafficking in persons to reach a common goal for the welfare and progress of humanity,” Mr. Kheng said.
 
Am Sam Ath, a technical supervisor for rights group Licadho, told Khmer Times that he welcomed Mr. Kheng’s warning, adding: “We have existing laws to punish any person involved in human trafficking, especially officials who are involved in trafficking.
 
“They must be punished without favor because they are officials who are supposed to be models to enforce the laws in the Kingdom.”     
 
In July this year, the US State Department’s 2016 Trafficking in Persons report said that Cambodian men, women and children are still being trafficked, particularly through debt-bondage to work both domestically and overseas in abusive conditions, be it forced labor on Thai fishing boats or sold as brides to husbands in China.
 
“Cambodia is a source, transit and destination country for men, women and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking. Many are subjected to forced labor on fishing vessels, in agriculture, in construction, in factories and in domestic servitude – often through debt bondage – or to sex trafficking,” the report said.
 
The report also claimed the government did not investigate, prosecute or convict any government employees complicit in trafficking.

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