Cablegate: 2007 Trafficking in Persons Report for Cambodia Part Iii
OO RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM RUEHNH
DE RUEHPF #0354/01 0640208
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 050208Z MAR 07
FM AMEMBASSY PHNOM PENH
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8127
INFO RUCNASE/ASEAN MEMBER COLLECTIVE
RUEHC/DEPT OF LABOR WASHINGTON DC
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC 0669
RHMFIUU/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHINGTON DC
RUEAHLC/HOMELAND SECURITY CENTER WASHINGTON DC 0034
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 07 PHNOM PENH 000354
STATE FOR G/TIP, G, INL, DRL, PRM, IWI, EAP/RSP, EAP/MLS
STATE PLEASE PASS TO USAID/ANE
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM PREF ELAB SMIG KCRM KWMN KFRD ASEC CB
SUBJECT: 2007 TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS REPORT FOR CAMBODIA PART III
REFTEL: STATE 202745
Government-to-Government TIP Cooperation
3J. Does the government cooperate with other governments in the
investigation and prosecution of trafficking cases? If possible,
can post provide the number of cooperative international
investigations on trafficking?
The government continues to cooperate with U.S. law enforcement
officials on trafficking issues and other criminal cases, and also
cooperates with other countries. The United States and a number of
other countries have laws to prosecute their nationals who travel
abroad to sexually exploit children. The Cambodian government has
cooperated with the U.S. in a significant number of PROTECT ACT
cases, and has handled numerous cases involving other foreign
nationals. The first three successful prosecutions worldwide under
the PROTECT ACT were achieved with the cooperation of RGC
authorities. Thirteen foreign nationals were arrested for
debauchery between March 2006 and January 2007.
The governments of Cambodia and Thailand signed a Memorandum of
Understanding on Bilateral Cooperation for Eliminating Trafficking
in Children and Women and Assisting Victims of Trafficking on May
31, 2003. The MOU requires the two governments to cooperate with
each other to investigate and uncover domestic and cross-border
trafficking of children and women, to conduct repatriation through
diplomatic channels, and to promote bilateral cooperation in the
judicial procedures against trafficking. During 2006, with support
from NGO IJM, the Cambodian trafficking police cooperated with Thai
immigration police to arrest two suspected traffickers and rescue
nine victims trafficked for sex in Thailand.
In October 2005, Cambodia and Vietnam signed a similar MOU on
trafficking. During the Vietnamese PM's March 2006 visit to
Cambodia, Vietnamese and Cambodian officials discussed cross-border
trafficking cases concerning Cambodian child beggars in Vietnam.
The Cambodian Police and Ministry of Justice cooperate with the
Malaysian police on cross-border TIP cases, but the process is still
in its infancy. According to LEASEC, the Cambodian government has
made the Malaysian government aware of TIP cases involving Cambodian
nationals in Malaysia since early 2002. Cambodia is now negotiating
a similar MOU with Malaysia similar to the MOU in place with
3K. Does the government extradite persons who are charged with
trafficking in other countries? If so, can post provide the number
of traffickers extradited? Does the government extradite its own
nationals charged with such offenses? If not, is the government
prohibited by law from extraditing its own nationals? If so, what
is the government doing to modify its laws to permit extradition of
its own nationals?
The governments of Cambodia and Thailand reached agreement
on an extradition treaty in Bangkok in May 1998. The
Cambodian National Assembly ratified the treaty in September 1999
and its Thai counterpart in December 2000;
representatives of the two countries signed the implementing
protocol in March 2001 in Phnom Penh, and the treaty came into force
in April 2001. The bilateral treaty
with Thailand provides a basis for future cooperation to address
trafficking issues. In March 2005, a Cambodian woman arrested in
Thailand was sentenced to 85 years by a Thai court for trafficking
eight underage Cambodian girls to Thailand for sexual exploitation.
The sentence was reduced to 50 years after the woman pleaded guilty.
The case was hailed as a breakthrough in bilateral cooperation
between Thailand and Cambodia that led to successful prosecution of
a Cambodian trafficker. The Cambodian government continues to
cooperate with foreign governments to expel persons charged with
pedophilia for acts committed in Cambodia so that they can be
prosecuted in their countries of citizenship.
Despite the lack of a bilateral extradition treaty, Cambodia has
cooperated to render into U.S. custody numerous American accused of
being child sex offenders. During the reporting period, Cambodia
deported two American nationals who committed crimes against
Cambodian children to the U.S. to face trial under the PROTECT Act.
Government Involvement in Trafficking
PHNOM PENH 00000354 002 OF 007
3L. Is there evidence of government involvement in or
tolerance of trafficking, on a local or institutional level? If so,
please explain in detail.
The Cambodian government as an institution does not tolerate human
trafficking. Because corruption is pervasive in Cambodia, it is
widely believed that some individual Cambodian officials - including
police and judicial officials - are involved in various aspects of
human trafficking, but firm evidence leading to the prosecution of
RGC officials is so far uncommon.
Prosecution of Government Officials for Trafficking
3M. If government officials are involved in trafficking, what steps
has the government taken to end such participation? Have any
government officials been prosecuted for involvement in trafficking
or trafficking-related corruption? Have any been convicted? What
actual sentence was imposed? Please provide specific numbers, if
Senior government officials have often stated that official
corruption that aids or abets trafficking or other crimes
will not be tolerated. During the year, the RGC prosecuted several
police officials for trafficking-related corruption charges.
Colonel Touch Ngim, former Deputy Director of the Anti-Human
trafficking and Juvenile Protection Department, and two other
officials under his supervision were disciplined for taking money
from karaoke owners in raided parlors in Kompong Speu province. In
August 2006, the Phnom Penh Municipal Court convicted Touch Ngim to
five years and two other police officers to seven years in prison.
Touch Ngim is serving his sentence; however, the two other officers
remain on the job.
Meng Say, Chief of the Phnom Penh Anti-Trafficking Unit, was
suspended in January 2006 for extorting money from Korean nationals.
Meng Say arrested the Korean nationals who came to Cambodia to
marry Cambodian women in October 2005, accusing them of human
trafficking. He then ordered the men to pay him USD 30,000 in
return for their release from custody. The men were released after
paying more than USD 10,000; after which they filed a complaint with
the Ministry of Interior and to the Prime Minister's office.
Following the issuance of an arrest warrant by the Phnom Penh
Municipal Court, Meng Say disappeared. In late August 2006, police
arrested Meng Say and he is now in pretrial detention.
Low-ranking government officials have also been apprehended for
involvement in trafficking. According to the MOI, between March
2006 and January 2007, police arrested two military officers and one
member of the military police for running brothels and trafficking.
The court sentenced one of them to a five-year suspended sentence
and ordered a fine of five million riels (~USD 1,250).
Child Sex Tourism Issues
3N. If the country has an identified child sex tourism problem (as
source or destination), how many foreign pedophiles have the
government prosecuted or deported/extradited to their country of
origin? Do the country's child sexual abuse laws have
extraterritorial coverage (like the U.S. PROTECT Act)? If so, how
many of the country's nationals have been prosecuted and/or
convicted under the extraterritorial provision(s)?
Cambodia is identified as a destination point for pedophiles.
During the period covered in this report, MOI reported the arrests
of 14 foreign nationals (five Americans, three Germans, one Belgian,
one British citizen, one Swiss, one Korean, one Japanese, and one
Canadian) for sexually abusing Cambodian children. Of the five
Americans arrested, the Cambodian government deported two to the
United States, one under the PROTECT Act framework and one under
state charges; one committed suicide in prison; another one is in
prison while the fifth is in prison awaiting deportation. In 2006,
the Cambodian court convicted a total of four foreign nationals,
with prison sentences ranging from 10 to 18 years and civil
compensation of USD 500 to USD 5,000.
The draft Cambodian anti-trafficking law under consideration has
extraterritorial coverage, allowing for the prosecution of Cambodian
citizens committing similar crimes in another country, and the
prosecution of a foreigner committing a crime involving Cambodian
victims in another country.
PHNOM PENH 00000354 003 OF 007
In June 2006, the Appeals Court in Phnom Penh, relying on forensic
evidence, upheld the conviction of an Australian pedophile despite
the withdrawal of witness complaints. The case drew media attention
because the defendant's defense lawyer had accused the Cambodian
Women's Crisis Center of offering money to the victims to testify
against the Australian. Most observers believe that the victims
withdrew their testimony under duress.
3O. Has the government signed, ratified, and/or taken steps to
implement the following international instruments? Please provide
the date of signature/ratification if appropriate.
--ILO Convention 182 concerning the prohibition and
immediate action for the elimination of worst forms of child labor:
The Cambodian government has ratified the new ILO Convention 182 on
the Worst Forms of Child Labor on October 25, 2005.
--ILO Convention 29 and 105 on forced or compulsory labor:
The government ratified the Forced Labor Convention (ILO 29) on
February 24, 1969 and the Abolition of Forced Labor Convention (ILO
105) on August 23, 1999. It should be noted Cambodia is the second
nation in Asia after Indonesia to ratify all seven fundamental
conventions of the ILO.
--Convention on the Rights of the Child: The Cambodian government
ratified this convention on October 15, 1992.
According to the CNCC, relevant ministries have formulated
internal policies and programs for the implementation of the
--The Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of
the Child (CRC) on the sale of children, child prostitution, and
child pornography: The Cambodian government ratified this
convention on May 30, 2002.
--The Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking
in Persons, especially Women and Children, supplementing the UN
Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime: Cambodia ratified
this protocol on January 18, 2006.
Protection and Assistance to Victims
4A. Does the government assist victims, for example, by providing
temporary to permanent residency status, relief from deportation,
shelter and access to legal, medical and psychological services? If
so, please explain. Does the country have victim care and victim
health care facilities?
Does the country have facilities dedicated to helping victims of
trafficking? If so, can post provide the number of victims placed
in these care facilities?
The government's record in assisting victims of trafficking
is reasonably good, in view of its limited resources and
lack of institutional capacity. Victim assistance is
usually conducted by an NGO or international organization, or
combination of the two. MOSAVY operates temporary shelters for
victims of trafficking, rape and domestic violence in Phnom Penh,
but the facility only provides temporary shelter and basic
assistance until victims can be placed with an NGO-operated shelter
and reintegration program. MOSAVY works closely with AFESIP, IOM,
UNICEF, World Vision and a variety of NGO-managed shelters
throughout the provinces to assist initial reintegration of victims
and follow-up investigations. Cambodian citizens are technically
provided free health care through Cambodia's national hospitals and
clinics, but this does not happen in practice. Services provided at
these facilities are inadequate in normal circumstances, and
non-existent for victims of trafficking, rape and domestic violence
who require specialized care.
When TIP victims are repatriated to Cambodia from Thailand,
an IOM-run Transit Center in Poipet staffed with MOSAVY and
IOM staff conduct preliminary assessments and assist in tracing
family members and reintegrating victims into their home
communities, or placing victims at appropriate NGO shelters to serve
their needs. In 2006, NGOs and MOSAVY identified 252 victims of
trafficking from Thailand and placed them at the Transit Center.
For children who cannot be reintegrated into their
communities, the USG supports IOM and other NGOs activities provide
long-term care and reintegration assistance such as vocational
training, job placement, and income generation.
PHNOM PENH 00000354 004 OF 007
Most of the NGOs shelters assist victims of all forms of violence,
including rape, domestic violence and trafficking. World Hope
International manages a short-term assessment center for victims of
trafficking, but also accepts rape victims when there is space
available. In 2006, the shelter assisted 64 victims of trafficking.
IOM also has cooperated in training Cambodian government officials
from MOSAVY and MOI to repatriate Vietnamese victims. Three victims
were repatriated under this process in 2006, bringing the total
number of repatriations to Vietnam to 60 since the initiation of
this project in June 1999.
Government-Funded Support to NGOs for Victims
4B. Does the government provide funding or other forms of
support to foreign or domestic NGOs for services to victims? Please
Because of inadequate resources, the Cambodian government
relies heavily on bilateral donors and multilateral institutions for
approximately 50 percent of its total annual budget, and has few
resources to devote to trafficking victims. The government relies
on foreign and domestic NGOs to provide services to victims of
trafficking, a situation that will likely persist for some time.
The Cambodian Ministry of Social Affairs funds Seva Kapia Komar
(SKK), which has primary responsibility for placement of TIP victims
with NGOs for additional care and support. On occasion, the RGC
also provides in-kind contributions to partnerships with NGOs, such
as land, office space and staff support.
Screening/Referral Process for Victims
4C. Do the government's law enforcement and social services
personnel have a formal system of identifying victims of trafficking
among high-risk persons with whom they come in contact (e.g.,
foreign persons arrested for prostitution or immigration
violations)? Is there a referral process in place, when
appropriate, to transfer victims detained, arrested or placed in
protective custody by law enforcement authorities to NGO's that
provide short- or long-term care?
After a raid, law enforcement authorities conduct an initial
screening for victims of trafficking before referring them to the
provincial and municipal Departments of Social Affairs, where they
will again be interviewed for victim determination. The municipal
and provincial Department of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth
(DOSAVY) would in turn refer the victims to short- or long-term NGO
shelters for further care depending on their needs.
In Phnom Penh, the government-funded SKK receives TIP victims and
refers them to appropriate NGOs. The police often referred victims
directly to NGOs, but SKK's role has been recently reinforced as the
primary clearinghouse for victims. Since 2005, World Hope
International has operated a short-term assessment center in Phnom
Penh for referral of TIP victims to longer-term care facilities to
augment the services provided by SKK.
Through an IOM project on repatriation and reintegration of
victims, DOSAVY officials and IOM staff screen and
refer victims repatriated from Thailand to appropriate
NGOs. There is no such system for victims returning
from Vietnam. For victims of trafficking outside of Phnom
Penh, local DOSAVY offices screen and place victims with
Rights of Victims
4D. Are the rights of victims respected, or are victims also
treated as criminals? Are victims detained, jailed, or deported?
If detained or jailed, for how long? Are victims fined? Are
victims prosecuted for violations of other laws, such as those
governing immigration or prostitution?
The rights of victims are respected in practice, and victims are not
treated as criminals. Victims are not detained, jailed, fined, or
deported. Cambodia was widely condemned in 2002 for mistreatment of
victims, but that is no longer the case.
Victim Participation in Legal Action
PHNOM PENH 00000354 005 OF 007
4E. Does the government encourage victims to assist in the
investigation and prosecution of trafficking? May victims file
civil suits or seek legal action against the
traffickers? Does anyone impede the victims' access to such legal
redress? If a victim is a material witness in a court case against
the former employer, is the victim permitted to obtain other
employment or to leave the country pending trial proceedings? Is
there a victim restitution program?
The anti-TIP police and prosecutors have become more
effective at gaining witness testimony, but credible fears of
retaliation from traffickers still pose major impediments to witness
testimony. Victims may file civil suits and seek legal action
against traffickers, and a number of NGOs in the legal, human
rights, and social services areas, including the Cambodian Defenders
Project (CDP), encourage victims to do so; the NGOs provide or refer
victims to legal services. However, Cambodia's corrupt legal system
has been a serious impediment to the success of cases brought by
Government Protection for Victims/Witnesses
4F. What kind of protection is the government able to provide for
victims and witnesses? Does it provide these
protections in practice? What type of shelter or services does the
government provide? Does it provide shelter or any other benefits to
victims or other resources to aid the victims in rebuilding their
lives? Where are child victims placed (e.g. in shelters, foster-care
type systems or juvenile justice detention centers)?
The government has no practical ability to protect witnesses at this
time. NGO shelters represent the safest place for witnesses during
the trial phase of a case against a trafficker. The government has
been planning to expand facilities at the MOI to temporarily hold
victims and witnesses but has not taken concrete action to do so.
Police have no practical ability to protect NGOs, victims, or
witnesses in high-profile cases. NGOs fill the void by providing
shelter and support to victims through vocational training and
start-up capital to start businesses. A number of shelters and
foster home programs are available for child victims of trafficking.
Despite some NGO-run shelters, such protection may not be adequate.
For example, in one trafficking case in Sihanoukville, according to
reports by several NGOs, after a suspected pedophile and his
girlfriend who was a suspected trafficker were released from prison
on bail, the girlfriend threatened the families of the victims and
demanded the victims be returned to her.
Government Training to RGC Officials for Victims
4G. Does the government provide any specialized training for
government officials in recognizing trafficking and in the provision
of assistance to trafficked victims, including the special needs of
trafficked children? Does the government provide training on
protections and assistance to its embassies and consulates in
foreign countries that are destination or transit countries? Does
it urge those embassies and consulates to develop ongoing
relationships with NGOs that serve trafficked victims?
The LEASEC project has a training component sensitizing police
officials to the special needs surrounding the trafficking and
sexual exploitation of children, including developing procedures and
training police in investigating cases of sexual exploitation and
trafficking in children, and court procedures.
In terms of social services, UNICEF and IOM continued to provide
technical assistance to build the capacity of government officials
in victim assistance. For example, an IOM-funded project helps the
provincial Svay Rieng Department of Social Affairs provide services
to vulnerable families so that their children are not trafficked to
Vietnam to participate in child-begging.
Embassies and consulates in foreign countries do not receive
training or sensitization related to trafficking and victims
assistance. Cambodian NGOs working with Cambodian trafficking
victims in Malaysia voice frustration over the RGC officials'
indifference toward trafficked victims, as well as their lack of
cooperation. However, there are some Cambodian officials who are
willing to cooperate with the NGOs and take a more proactive
approach to helping Cambodian victims outside the country.
Government Assistance to Repatriated Nationals
PHNOM PENH 00000354 006 OF 007
4H. Does the government provide assistance, such as medical aid,
shelter, or financial help, to its repatriated nationals who are
victims of trafficking?
In this area, the government relies heavily on international
organizations, foreign and domestic NGOs, and other countries to
provide medical aid and shelter to its repatriated nationals who are
the victims of trafficking. MOSAVY is mandated by the Cambodian
government to provide care and protection to the most vulnerable
population in the country, especially women and children, but in
practice lacks the resources to do so without international or NGO
Former King Sihanouk's email offer to personally assist overseas
trafficked Cambodians may have generated more attention by Cambodian
Embassies and consulates.
International Organization and NGOs
4I. Which international organization or NGOs, if any, work with
trafficking victims? What type of services do they provide? What
sort of cooperation do they receive from local authorities?
Approximately 70 NGOs work on trafficking issues, and of those,
roughly 40 NGOs provide some form of service to trafficking victims.
The services include shelter (which usually includes food, sleeping
accommodations, basic health care, counseling, literacy, and
sometimes vocational training), legal assistance, drop-in centers,
and re-integration assistance. Cambodian government cooperation
with these NGOs is good.
ILO/IPEC conducted an income generation project as a strategy
against trafficking for labor migration in the provinces of Prey
Veng, Kampong Cham and Svay Rieng. The project ended in September
2006. World Education has identified similar pilot projects to
focus on improving the socio-economic opportunities for girls to
prevent their being trafficked.
PACT-Cambodia began a three-year program in September 2004 for
women's empowerment through micro-enterprise development. Supported
by the State Department's Women's Issues Fund, this program focused
on rural literacy and math skills among populations identified in a
2004 study as being most at risk for trafficking. The second year
of the program established village-led savings and investment
programs for women.
The NGO Action Pour Les Enfants (APLE) is focused on eradicating
street-based sexual exploitation and arresting traveling child sex
offenders in Cambodia. As a result of APLE's work in 2006,
Cambodian authorities arrested 21 child sex offenders and
pedophiles. The organization operates branches in Phnom Penh and
Sihanoukville on a limited budget and is in the process of opening a
new branch in Siem Riep. APLE has built capacity with local police
and judicial officials, acted as a watchdog on those same officials,
facilitated greater involvement of foreign police officials, as well
as provided legal representation to victims who would otherwise not
be able to afford a lawyer.
The Childsafe program, managed by Friends International and jointly
implemented by Friends and another NGO, M'Lop Tapang, has built a
network of people who protect children in the cities of
Sihanoukville, Phnom Penh, and Siem Riep. In the beach resort of
Sihanoukville, Childsafe relies on 36 moto-taxi drivers as well as
25 employees of guesthouses. These facilitators are trained in
child protection skills; the training is funded by the British
Embassy and sponsored by the Cambodian Ministry of Tourism. Once
trained, these facilitators are able to protect and support children
at risk of trafficking and sexual abuse.
Political Officers Margaret McKean and Gaurav Bansal drafted this
submission and estimated that the drafting of this report required
40 hours of staff time; separately a local FSN political assistant
spent 30 hours helping draft this report. Embassy POC for this
PHNOM PENH 00000354 007 OF 007
cable is Section Chief Margaret McKean (T. 855-023-728-125).
Abbreviations used in this report:
ADHOC: Association de Defense des Droit de l'Homme (Human
Rights Defense Association)
AFESIP: Agir pour les Femmes en Situation Precaire
APLE: Action Pour Les Enfants
ARCPPT: Asia Regional Cooperation to Prevent People
CDP: Cambodian Defender's Project
CNCC: Cambodian National Council for Children
CNCW: Cambodian National Council for Women
COMMIT: Coordinated Mekong Ministerial Initiative against
CWCC: Cambodian Women's Crisis Center
CWDA: Cambodian Women Development Agency
DOSAVY: Department of Social Affairs, Veterans, and Youth
IJM: International Justice Mission
ILEA: International Law Enforcement Academy
ILO-IPEC: International Labor Organization-International
Program on the Elimination of Child Labor
IOM: International Organization for Migration
LEASEC: Ministry of Interior Law Enforcement Against Sexual
Exploitation of Children Project
LSCW: Legal Support for Children and Women
MOI: Ministry of Interior
MOJ: Ministry of Justice
MOSAVY: Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans, and Youth
MOLVT: Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training
MOT: Ministry of Tourism
MOWA: Ministry of Women's Affairs
RGC: Royal Government of Cambodia
RSJP: Royal School of Judges and Prosecutors
SKK: Seva Kapiar Komar (Service for Protection of Children)
UNOHCHR: United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for
UNDP: United Nations Development Program
UNIAP: United Nations Inter-Agency Project Against
Trafficking of Women and Children in the Mekong Sub-Region
UNICEF: United Nations Children's Fund
UNTAC: United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia
USAID: United States Agency for International Development
WMC: Women's Media Center