The Catholic community got shocked by Cambodia’s rank in Tier 3 of human trafficking rank, as reported by the United States Department for Combating Human Trafficking, July 20.
Assistant Director of Caritas Cambodia Monsarith Nou expressed frustration over Cambodia's rank in the third group of human trafficking report.
Nou said, "I am heartbroken because we have worked hard for all the institutions and the religious institutions fought against human trafficking."
The U.S had ranked Cambodia in the second group for the past two years. But in 2022, Cambodia appeared in Tier 3 group. It meant that the Cambodian government did not meet minimum standards in its efforts to eradicate human trafficking and no significant efforts into compliance.
The report shows that the Cambodian government has not provided adequate support to both domestic and foreign victims of trafficking, relying almost entirely on foreign donors and NGOs.
According to Nou, Caritas Cambodia, the social action wing of the Catholic Church, has made great efforts to spread awareness about human trafficking in the community and the region, especially on its developmental projects in each province.
"We are starting to fight against the menace and we are training people to understand human trafficking," he added.
The report said that Cambodia is lagging in eradicating human trafficking due to the systemic corruption that has hampered law enforcement, allowing perpetrators to still commit crimes or escape prosecution, and victims remain ineligible.
Nou stated that Cambodia Caritas has trained its target farmers with a clear understanding of how to migrate safely and how to prevent unsafe migration that leads to trafficking and other social problems.
He acknowledged that some of Caritas' target groups migrated, but they migrated safely and this migration was among a small group of people.
Since 2017, Cambodia Caritas cooperated with an interfaith forum every year to combat human trafficking except during the Covid-19 outbreak.
Savong Duong, a member of the Interfaith Commission representing the Catholic community in Cambodia, said that every year there were many days to raise people’s awareness to join the fight.
“The Cambodian government is also working to reform to eliminate human trafficking. At the same time, the government has urged religions in the country to unite against trafficking,” Savong added.
Savong said he had attended several interfaith meetings with the government on human trafficking, including human labor and trafficking surgery.
"I know that the Ministry of Interior has done a lot of work with the countries involved," he confirmed.
Vice Chairperson Bun Eng Chou of the National Committee for Counter Trafficking (NCCT), said, “We always hope that this year we will get a good ranking, we have the cooperation and work closely with the US Embassy in Cambodia, till the FBI office set up with the General Commissariat of National Police, also have their reporter work with us.”
The United States Department for Combating Human Trafficking has blacklisted Vietnam, Cambodia, Brunei, and Macau, including Malaysia, accusing them of failing to stop forced sex work or assisting migrant workers. - Kagnha Keo
Radio Veritas Asia (RVA), a media platform of the Catholic Church, aims to share Christ. RVA started in 1969 as a continental Catholic radio station to serve Asian countries in their respective local language, thus earning the tag “the Voice of Asian Christianity.” Responding to the emerging context, RVA embraced media platforms to connect with the global Asian audience via its 21 language websites and various social media platforms.