New U.S. initiative to Boost Cambodian Government’s Efforts to Fight Human Trafficking
Phnom Penh, September 13, 2006 — At a launch event yesterday evening, the U.S. and Cambodian governments announced the start of the second phase of USAID’s anti-trafficking in persons project to be implemented by The Asia Foundation. Since 2003, the U.S. government has provided approximately $5 million to support counter-trafficking programs in Cambodia. This new phase will provide an additional $4.5 million over the next three years and will promote greater coordination with the Royal Government of Cambodia and other stakeholders to build an innovative and collective approach to prevent human trafficking, protect victims, help prosecute traffickers, and facilitate the reintegration of trafficking survivors.
Speaking at the event, US Ambassador Joseph A. Mussomeli said, “This project is a landmark approach in Cambodia. Government, civil society and international organizations are collaborating to identify trafficking trends so we can stop trafficking before it happens and fight trafficking where it takes place.”
The project has six main aims: increase awareness about the demand for trafficked persons and promote safe migration alternatives; document the effectiveness of counter-trafficking programs and share best practices; establish a minimum standard of care at shelters and ensure continuity of care throughout the referral process; promote access to justice for victims and promote successful prosecutions; and support income-generating activities to protect vulnerable populations from exploitation. This program will also set a baseline to measure effectiveness of donor efforts in this field.
Deputy Prime Minister of Cambodia H.E. Sar Kheng said, “The Ministry of Interior…. is fully committed to combating….the heinous and inhuman crime of human trafficking. To achieve this objective we have undertaken strict and determined legal and operational measures in the forms of our own initiatives and resources in conjunction with the international community, donor countries, nongovernmental and international organizations whose willingness and determination are to protect and rescue victims of trafficking and prosecute traffickers.”
The project will broaden the scope of anti-trafficking work in Cambodia to address trafficking of adults and young children for sex, labor, begging and other forms of exploitation. Project partners — including Catholic Relief Services, World Vision-Cambodia, International Justice Mission, Hagar and World Hope — will target anti-trafficking activities in key areas. Throughout, The Asia Foundation will work closely with the Center for Advanced Study to measure the effectiveness of activities so that good practices can be shared and replicated.
For more than a decade, The Asia Foundation has been a leader in the fight against human trafficking in Asia by implementing country-specific programs and supporting regional workshops to share lessons on key trafficking issues. The recently published “Review of a Decade of Research on Trafficking in Persons, Cambodia” and companion e-database provide a comprehensive assessment of existing research on human trafficking in Cambodia.
Click here for more information about The Asia Foundation’s programs in Cambodia.
Click here for more information about The Asia Foundation’s anti-trafficking programs.