Credits: Photos: Karl Grobl
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Counter-Trafficking in Persons Program: Protection
An alarming number of Cambodians, approximately 35 percent, live on less than $1.00 a day. In cities and small towns, young people are vulnerable to false promises of jobs or marriage—and are still systemtically trafficked into exploitative situations. Unsuspecting individuals, struggling to survive, are forced into prostitution or labor and also suffer abuse and rape. Beginning in 2007, in partnership with the Royal Government of Cambodia and with funding from the U.S. Agency for International Development, our staff executed a three-year Countering Trafficking in Persons Program encompassing prevention of trafficking, protection of victims, and prosecution of perpetrators, as well as coordination within government and between government and civil society. Among our key goals, we worked to address a glaring lack of safe, dignified rescues, rehabilitations, and re-integrations for victims; and a gap in Cambodian police training that often resulted in poorly coordinated investigations and few prosecutions. Working holistically, we supported efforts to: provide specialized work skills training and job placement for youth; provide quality trauma and medical care, and counseling for victims; and increase the rate, quality, and professionalism of prosecution to create a culture of policing that enforces the country's 2009 landmark act requiring a higher quality of respect and care for victims.