I am very proud that our Embassy is dedicated to countering the reprehensible practice of trafficking in persons. As the father of a daughter in high school, I am particularly concerned about the young women and girls who are victims of trafficking. A couple of weeks ago, I visited the “Dream Home,” Transitions International’s shelter for such young women. Transitions International is an NGO that helps trafficking victims get back on their feet and reintegrate into society. I was pleased to learn from the center’s country director, house moms, social workers, and counselors about the valuable work this organization does to combat modern day slavery.
Experts estimate that annually human trafficking generates between $5 and $9 billion worldwide, making it a difficult industry to tackle – but not an impossible one. The U.S. Embassy is committed to help end trafficking in Cambodia. The methods used to exploit victims – like coercion, deception, fraud, abuse of power, and outright abduction – continue to evolve in response to anti-trafficking efforts. Today in Cambodia, traffickers often exploit poverty in rural areas by luring victims away from their town or village with the false promise of a well-paying job and then forcing or coercing them into an exploitative situation once they are away from their family and friends.
It is important to listen carefully to people who work closely with trafficking victims to learn about the circumstances of their stories. Not only does it give us insight into how to stop the traffickers, but it also teaches us how to best support the victims, lending our support so they can rebuild their lives.
Their unique perspectives help us to understand the direction that trafficking in persons is taking in Cambodia and enable us to more effectively assist Cambodia in combating this terrible scourge.
What actions do you feel the U.S. government could take to help Cambodia reach its counter-trafficking goals?