Analysis of Human Trafficking and Cambodia

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Even though there is growing awareness and heighten the condemnation on human trafficking, still this action continue to increase throughout the world, and the victims or vulnerable people are being sold, traded, and enslaved for labor exploitation, servitude, and sexual exploitation for making profits. Here this essay will guide more specifically in Cambodia where the poorest countries in the region, and she facing with the big issue-trafficking in persons.

Now let me begin by providing some background relating to human trafficking before we take a step to Cambodia case. First of all, I would define the term, so human trafficking simply means that the way traffickers recruit or transport the victims or vulnerable people from one place to another place or from one nation to another by using force or deception for the purpose of exploitation. Another definition which outline under UN protocol to prevent, suppress and punish trafficking in person, especially women and children: "Trafficking in person shall mean the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring, or receipt of persons, by means of threat or use force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payment or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, force labor or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal organs". This kind of action is absolutely a crime which against humanity-human rights. No matter they are the rich or poor countries, or they are served as a transit, resource, and recipient nations, every country around the world is affected by trafficking. Moreover, this issue is not occurs only within the nations but also across international border, so one state can not tackle this problem alone, because this is a global issue which is needed cooperation and collaboration in order to address it, and to ensure that everyone is safe from being trafficked. Thousand people are fall in to the hand of traffickers every year because they are easily cheated. There are many forms that trafficker use to attract the victims by using threat or use of force, giving payment or benefit, abduction, abuse of power or vulnerability, fraud, and deception which they paints a rosy picture of better life for the victims such as good job with high salary and educational or marriage opportunity. After victims fall in to their false promises, traffickers start to transit them from one place to another destination in the purpose of exploitation. Generally, women have been force to do prostitution, to work in the factory with very low salary and many hours, to serve as maid with slave condition and so on. How about men, they are trafficked for labor force in industries, fishing, construction site, and agriculture. Not only women are trafficked for sexual exploitation, but children are too, and they are trafficked for force labor, the removal organ, recruited as child-soldiers, begging, soliciting, flower selling, and street vending. Their lives are treated as slave-like, and totally different from what they expected. Despite the number of victims is increasing in some regions, the international organizations as well as the states do not over look this issue. Many United Nation agencies such as UNDOC, ILO, UNICEF, UNIFEM, and so on, help to assist states to implement the protocol to prevent, suppress, and punish trafficking in person (Trafficking Person Protocol) which is adopted by UN in Parlemo, Italy in 2000, and marked as significant effort of international organization to stop the trade of human being. Moreover, many countries approve of anti-human trafficking law which could help the victims fight against human trafficking. Whether this law is effective or not are depend on how the government of those countries perform.

Now let me draw your focus to take a look at Cambodia case. There is emergence of trafficking in person; since the sex commercial industries are increasing rapidly as well as the demand of sex workers at the alarming rate Cambodia has been facing issue of human trafficking especially young women and children who are most vulnerable victims. Now a day Cambodia has been identified as source or origin and destination nation for trafficking in human being. In the early year, Cambodia was served as a transit point for human trafficking. However, later Cambodia become known as destination to access inexpensive women and children prostitute, which is considered one form of trafficking in person. This reputation was brought during 1992 when United Nation Transnational Authority in Cambia (UNTAC) mostly civilian personnel and male-troops flooded the country (reported by Human Rights Task Force on Cambodia in 2001). Since then Cambodia has become huge market for commercial sex service. In Cambodia when we talk about human trafficking this is commonly understand to refer to trafficking into sex industry. Many women and girls who fall into the hand of trafficker have been trafficked for sexual exploitation. According to the Commission on Human Right and to Receive Complaints of National Assembly indicated that more than 14000 women are working as prostitutes in brothel through out the country. Of these about 15.5% are under 18 year-old. Within the country, Cambodian as well as ethnic Vietnamese women and children are trafficked from the rural area to some destinations such as Phnom Penh, Shihanouk Ville, and Siem Reap for commercial sexual exploitation. Victimize women and children have been force to provide sexual service. There are some working places where usually show a high percentage of sexual exploitation such as night club, massages girls, hidden brothel, and street prostitution. In case the victims refuse or deny providing the sexual service to the costumers they all might get hit or rape if they are virgin by gang owner or brothel owner. Victims are stay in the same place, they have been transfer from one place to another within the country, and most of the time they don't know where they are because they are working in the very dark place and not see the sunlight. After they serve the client they will go to the place where the brothel owner captures them. They end up their live with a slave like conditions. Besides serving as destination nations for trafficking in person, Cambodia also serves as the origin or source for human trafficking. Many Cambodian women, children as well as men were trafficked to her neighboring countries like Thailand as example, and others such as China and Malaysia. Victimize women, children and men who live near by the Cambodia-Thailand borders frequently are recruited by organized crimes agent who usually make false promises and deception which they paint a rosy picture of a better life for the victims such well paying job with high salary, educational or marriage opportunity which will provide them a good living standard. After that, they are illegally sent for exploitation, and controlled by organized crimes ring. The victims have been recruited as selling flowers, solicit business or beggars which they have to fill the following profile such mother carrying young babies, young girls carrying flower, children and the elders begging. If the victims cannot find any income, they will get hit or no food for eat by gang organized crimes. The living condition of baggers and selling flowers are extremely poor even though they try run away from such situation, it is hard for them to do so because they are illegally living in the second country. All in all, it is obvious indicates that mostly people who were cheated are from the provinces which served as the source of trafficking in person such as Koh Kong, Kompong Spue, Prey Veng, but also Phnom Penh as well. After realizing Cambodia is destination, transit, and the origin of human trafficking, it obvious that trafficking in person is most serious human right that Cambodia faces today. So you might pop up with the question that what are the roots causes laying behind this?

For sure respond back to the question above, obviously there are many factors which push some of Cambodia people to become the victims of human trafficking. Firstly, one of many factors behind this is poverty which is being the significant cause leading to trafficking in person. As we already know that Cambodia has been gone through a bitter history in Khmer Rouge regime, sine then Cambodia continues to recover from the total destruction of social, health, education and economic structures as a result of this regime.  Extreme poverty and an infrastructure that's still weak create an ideal environment for the abuse of human rights.  Trafficking victims are largely from the world's poorest countries and readily believe the traffickers' promises of a job that will provide a better quality of life.  Indeed, many people are familiar with the person who recruits them on behalf of the trafficker such as a friend of the family or a cousin. One of the most extreme and distressing results of abject poverty is when desperate parents are forced to sell their children.  With no state support, if parents are unable to work through illness or disability and there's no supporting community, the choices available to people facing starvation are very limited and the unthinkable does happen.  Although small in percentage terms, it is surprisingly common and children then face severe danger and risks.  Some families will sell their own daughters like live stock in market for a sum of money that will see them through the year, often believing that the girls are going to get a job or an education.  Virgins command a higher price as many men believe that sex with a virgin will cure AIDS.  To ensure a girl's virginity, girls as young as 5 or 6 years old are bought and then raped. Girls who try to escape and are recaptured by their owners receive punishments that will almost certainly stop them considering making a run for it again. This is such a cruel situation which is happen to my own country. Besides poverty, socio-economic imbalance also contributes to human trafficking in Cambodia and lead to migration. As we all know that people who live in the rural area are more vulnerable victims compared to urban area where have more job opportunities, people in the rural tend to find the way for better life. Well, they might view their neighbor countries as their job opportunities for them. Therefore, over half the population below the age of 20, specifically Cambodia young workers are facing the growing problem of providing decent work, further increasing the drive toward cross-border migration for employment, and perpetuating the cycle of vulnerability to human trafficking. Most of them migrate the second countries illegally that why even they know that they are exploited in term of labor or in anyway, those people could not escape from that condition, some how they afraid when they escape the gang might bit or fight them cruelly. So they might end up their life in this situation, if they are lucky enough they could come back to their country. Actually not only these two factors that contribute to human trafficking but these two are the most significant. After knowing the root cause of this problem, you might want to know about the roles of Cambodia government as well as the regional respond to this issue since this issue not only occur in Cambodia territory but also spill over to her neighboring countries. So Cambodia alone might not have capability to tackle this problem, she needs collaboration and cooperation with other government in order to deal with such issue.

After being aware of the root cause behind the action on trafficking in person, Cambodia government as well as regional grouping do not overlook on this issue. Since we have already realized that human trafficking in person does not occur only in domestic but it spills over the boundary of territory which is usually considered transnational issue. Hence, in order to dealing with such issue, what strategy the national government will use. Though trafficking in person which is such a hot issue, still most of people have limited the information about this. Therefore, under the umbrella of Royal Government, the Human Rights Commission has been given a chance to the conduct and raising the awareness under the topic of trafficking issue to make sure that everyone deeply recognize and understand about it. That's why the Human Right Commission has been leading vast and valuable research throughout the country, and organizing a national workshop and proactively contributed to interpretations and implementation of the human trafficking law. The Government also plays a vital role to provide education such as school and shelters for orphans or street children to keep them away from the hand of traffickers. Significantly, the ministry of Social, Labor and Veterans Affairs have been run for several such institutions. The Royal Government have included education on children's rights in the school program that is another way of creating awareness among the ordinary people about the laws that exist to protect them such as children and victims of trafficking. International donors socially provide fund or support financed to many Government development projects, which is mainly focused on poverty reduction, which in turn reduces the vulnerability of children and women who were sold to traffickers for profits. In addition, the Ministry of Women's and Veterans' Affairs (MWVA) was founded in 1998 by the Royal Government of Cambodia as the national mechanism for advancing the role and the status of women and veterans in Cambodia. In 2002, MWVA implemented the following concept paper on the "Strengthening Mechanisms and Strategies to Counter Trafficking". A "Five Year Plan against Sexual Exploitation of Children (2000-2004)" was submitted by Cambodia National Counsel for Children, and it was adopted by counsel minister on 17 March, 2000, which emphasized on prevention through information spread through out the country and protection by law enforcement. In a year late, 2001, a national workshop assessed the national plan's progress and priorities for action. In 2002, the Cambodia Royal Government created mechanisms for controlling and reporting on the national plans with all relevant ministries and provincial authorities. Besides this, On May 6, 2005 the government and the other five member states of the Coordinated Mekong Ministerial Initiative Against Trafficking (COMMIT) met in Phnom Penh and agreed to approve the plan of action developed in March 2005 in Hanoi. The COMMIT process began as a series of informal discussions between representatives from several of the GMS governments in mid 2003. During three roundtable discussions the governments overcame challenges to reach a groundbreaking agreement that was to become the blueprint for collaboration to combat trafficking in the GMS. The MOU represents the governments' recognition that trafficking in persons impacts the human security and the human rights of the individual and that in many ways trafficking is a direct result of lack of human security and has to be addressed at the individual, societal, national, regional and international levels. The 34 articles specifically refer to the need for governments to work together with international organizations and NGOs to close all avenues of exploitation. COMMIT provides a potential model for other such agreements around the world. However, Owit is still in infancy and its lessons are yet to be fully documented. To what extent the structures established will stand the test of time and onslaught by violators and traffickers searching for loopholes depend on those who are supporting the process. In its capacity as the COMMIT Secretariat, UNIAP will continue to do its utmost to do justice to the ideals of the process, placing at its centre and at all times the task of protecting the rights of trafficked persons.

All in all, we obviously see that government have put the effort in tackling on trafficking in person issue by adopting some law and mechanism to anti-human trafficking in domestic affair. Plus, the government have been working with NGOs in order to provide assistance to the victims and raising the awareness through many forms of actions. Moreover, at the regional level, the Great Mekong Sub region also signed and agreed on anti-human trafficking usually refers to modern slavery, too. Whether all the actions that Cambodia government respond to trafficking in person, is effective or not, let check the result.

Let's me begin with the main challenge for Cambodia government is corruption. With regarding to UNIAP claims that human trafficking irrelatively new to Cambodia because it is strongly believed the case keep increasing. Moreover, some law which is passed or enforced is useless because the public strongly believed that some of high ranking government officials have accepted bribes from trafficker and help them to facilitate trafficking process and sex commercial or sex trade. According to the Cambodian Ministry of Interior reported 65 arrests for human trafficking and several prosecutions of police officials for trafficking-related to corruption who are charged in 2006. For example, the former Deputy Director of the Police Anti-Human Trafficking and Juvenile Protection Department was convicted for involving in trafficking and was sentenced to five years' imprisonment. Two officials under his supervision were also convicted and sentenced to seven years' imprisonment. The Cambodian Government was put in the rank of the Tier 2 Watch List in the 2007 by U.S. Department of State's Trafficking in Persons Report for not fully complying with the Trafficking Victims Protection Act's minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking but making significant efforts to do so. In conclusion, human trafficking in Cambodia still remain as the main concerned to the government even though there are some law have been interpreted and implemented, those law like a scrap of paper. So the best solution is to reducing the corruption within government official, enforcing the law and severely punish the once who violent it. Plus, funding the financial and promoting more community outreach programs to educate the entire population about human rights, gender equality, violate against women, economic development, and physical security. When the people are educated this case of human trafficking will be reduce step by step.