How We Fight Child Trafficking
Together with our partner organizations, we use a multifaceted approach in the fight against child trafficking, child exploitation and sexual abuse.
We use education and awareness-raising activities to help Cambodian children understand their rights and their real value as members of our society. We work with communities across Cambodia to help them better support their children and protect them from exploitation. We also supply critical legal and case-management services to child sexual assault victims, and provide them with medical treatment, transportation, food, and accommodation.
Why We Are Fighting for Children
According to the International Labour Organisation (ILO), there are an estimated 20.9 million men, women, and children, who are victims of forced labour across the globe today, including those trafficked for both labour and sexual exploitation. This is quite simply, modern day slavery. A disturbing trend that is highlighted in the United Nations Global Report on Trafficking in Persons 2012, is that of the rise in child trafficking, between 2007 and 2010 child victims rose from 20% to 27%. East Asian countries seem to be one of the biggest contributors to this trend, with East Asian victims of trafficking found in 64 countries across all regions in this latest report.
The trafficking of children is a widespread issue in Cambodia, which is a source, transit, and destination country. Trafficked children are subjected to any number of activities that are in direct violation of their human rights, the key among them being commercial sexual exploitation and forced labour. As was highlighted in the US Department of State’s Trafficking in Persons Report 2012, ‘Within Cambodia, parents sometimes sell their children into conditions of forced labor, including domestic servitude, and send them to beg on the streets in Thailand. Cambodian children are also transported to Vietnam for the purpose of forced labor.’ This is just the tip of the iceberg.
The report goes on to state that, ‘Within the country, Cambodian and ethnic Vietnamese women and girls are trafficked from rural areas to Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Poipet, Koh Kong, and Sihanoukville for commercial sexual exploitation.’ The Cambodian Government do not currently fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking, however steps are being taken in the right direction. Through our advocacy and awareness-raising Cambodia ACT intends to hold the government accountable for all the children trafficked across and within Cambodia’s borders until these standards are met.
Exploitation of Children
According to the Trafficking in Persons Protocol, the third element of trafficking is the purpose, which is exploitation. This includes, ‘at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude, and the removal of organs’ (Trafficking in Persons Protocol, article 3 (a)).
The exploitation of children can occur in many forms, one of the most common of these in Cambodia being labour exploitation which involves forced and dangerous labour for little to no salary, poor working and living conditions, and debt-bondage among others. The International Labour Organisation, ILO, reported in 2012 that in Cambodia, ‘children are involved in manifestations of the worst forms of child labor including work in agriculture, brick-making, street vending, and begging’. These children are not only performing back-breaking work in life-threatening jobs, but their human rights are also being violated in a myriad of other ways such as inadequate living and working conditions; no pay, little to no water or food, cramped conditions, and no way out.
The other main form of exploitation of children that we see in Cambodia is that of sexual exploitation. It is a harrowing fact that the sale of virgin girls continues to be a serious problem in Cambodia.