Libmonster ID: UK-1432
Author(s) of the publication: E. S. BUROVA


Post-graduate student of the ISAA of Lomonosov Moscow State University

Cambodia Keywords:human trafficking, prostitutionbegging

Human trafficking has become a global problem that affects almost all countries and generates huge profits for traffickers and their intermediaries. Currently, it is one of the most violent and cynical types of organized criminal activity, which is rapidly developing and reaching threatening proportions. According to experts, the total revenue is $32 billion. annually 1.

Countries around the world are enacting laws and international agreements designed to put an end to all forms of modern slavery and the slave trade, and eliminate them as a criminal practice.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights prohibits all forms of slavery, the slave trade and servitude.2 In 2000. The International Labour Organization (ILO) has adopted a document" On the protection of victims of trafficking in human beings " (Trafficking Victims Protection Act), which identified as the most severe forms of sex trafficking, as well as recruitment, harboring, transportation of people through the use of force, deception in order to attract to forced labor. Also adopted in 2000, the UN Palermo Protocol* has become part of international law; and one of the policy priorities of the members of this organization is the elimination of the modern slave trade.

However, thousands of people continue to fall victim to it, despite all the prohibitions provided for by laws and international treaties.

In June 2012, the US State Department published its next annual report on international human trafficking. As stated at its presentation by US Secretary of State X. Clinton, today, more than 27 million people worldwide are victims of contemporary forms of slavery involving forced labor or services - what we call human trafficking.3

Human trafficking has been a pressing issue for Cambodia since the early 1990s. During this period, the country achieved relative political stability and sustained economic growth.

When human trafficking cases first appeared in Cambodia is extremely difficult to determine.

It is known that before 1970, the Government had already taken strict measures to combat prostitution, which at that time was not widespread in the country. The aggravation of the political and military situation in Cambodia since the early 1970s, the increase in migration flows from rural areas to Phnom Penh and a sharp decline in the standard of living of the population, as well as the presence of the US military in 1970 - 1975.** contributed to the fact that prostitution and human trafficking began to spread in Cambodia, but its scale was still they are small.

The situation began to change with the beginning of the implementation of the peace settlement in Cambodia and the arrival of the UN peacekeeping forces in the country in 1992, which greatly influenced the development of "adult entertainment". It is at this time that the number of women and children involved in the sex industry is increasing many times over. By the end of 1992, approximately 20,000 people were engaged in prostitution in Phnom Penh, and in 1993, when the peacekeeping forces left the country, the number of prostitutes plummeted to 10,000.4 According to a study conducted by the UN Commission on Human Rights, there were 14.7 thousand prostitutes in Cambodia in 2000, of which 15.5% were girls under the age of 18 .5 In the 1990s, the country was flooded with large financial flows of not always controlled international aid, which led to the enrichment of certain segments of Cambodian society, among which there was also a taste for"adult entertainment".

The main reasons that led to the prosperity of human trafficking and prostitution are, first of all, the extreme poverty and low level of education of a significant part of the population, as well as the strong socio - economic disparity between urban and rural areas.

The sex industry is considered an "alternative" to working in a textile factory for a girl from a poor family. The textile industry and the sex industry draw their personnel from the same sources-people from very poor, large families in rural areas. The difference is that on the textile fabry-

* The Palermo Protocol is a protocol on the prevention, suppression and Punishment of trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, which supplements the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime. It was signed in Palermo (Italy) by the majority (out of 148 countries present).

** For more information about the events in Cambodia in 1970-1975, see: Mosyakov D. V. History of Cambodia in the XX century, Moscow, 2010, pp. 184-317 (author's note).

page 56

ku is harder to get settled in. According to available data, 310 thousand workers were employed in the textile industry in 2010, of which 95% were girls. And in the sex industry, according to information sources, more than 20 thousand people "worked" 6.

During the global financial crisis of 2008, about 20% of female textile workers who were laid off found work in brothels, karaoke bars, and massage parlors. The average" salary " of sex workers is, according to some sources, $40-60 per night - a considerable amount by Cambodian standards. Of course, the cost of services varies depending on the nationality of the client7.

However, there are some nuances here. The owner of a brothel, karaoke bar, or massage parlor pays a newly arrived "worker" from $150 to $450 on a one-time basis, depending on the girl's age and appearance. Subsequently, this amount must be worked out, often with interest. It is profitable for the owners of night clubs to keep the girl in debt dependence for as long as possible. Therefore, the amount of debt additionally includes expenses for food, accommodation, as well as various medical services, which are not cheap for the" slave " 8.

In the "adult entertainment" industry, there are also hostesses. They meet customers, offer them drinks, and pick up female companions. This type of employment is less highly paid, and the average salary is $60 per month. This includes tips that can reach the same amount, as well as a commission for each client. However, it is more difficult to get a job in this position. In addition, in most cases, hostesses must have a good command of a foreign language 9.

Cambodia has established a network to involve girls in the sex industry. Special agents are working in the country to persuade poor families living in rural areas to let their children go to well-paid jobs in large cities. In most cases, the agents are women close to the family, who are trusted by both parents and the girls themselves. Sometimes agents do not hide from their parents what their daughters are going to do.10 Studies have shown that 70.2% of girls voluntarily went to work, while the remaining 29.8% were sold 11.

The average age of girls involved in the sex industry is 15-19 years. It has significantly decreased in comparison with the beginning of the 2000s, when women aged 18-23 were mainly employed in this industry. The majority (52.4%) of sex workers are unmarried, 45.2% are divorced or widowed, and 2.4% are married.

It is not uncommon for Cambodia to involve children in the sex industry. Most children are forced into this industry. They are sold by their parents or close people they trust. Children are sold to dens or personally into the hands of interested foreigners.

Non-governmental organizations have recorded frequent cases of parents voluntarily sending their children to this type of earnings as the only possible way for the family to earn income. According to some reports, 44% of women and children were trafficked by their neighbors, 23% by relatives, 17% by friends, and 6% by employers.12 The situation is further aggravated by the weak legislative framework in Cambodia, as well as the corruption of those structures that are designed to combat these negative phenomena.

The development of the sex industry in Cambodia is also supported by the rapid growth of the tourism sector. By now, Cambodia has acquired the image of a country that offers cheap sex services and has a well-developed child sex industry.

In addition, Cambodia has become a transport hub for the further sale of women and children to Thailand and Malaysia. The main flow of women and children also comes from neighboring Vietnam. Despite the progress achieved in the development of the economy as a whole, as well as in the fight against poverty, Vietnam still has a number of unresolved problems related to the social stratification of the population, unemployment, and the widening gap between the standard of living in rural areas and in the city. As a result, girls and children voluntarily come to Cambodia from poor border areas in search of earnings. However, it is worth noting that there is also an illegal export of children and women from Vietnam. Most of them later become involved in the sex industry.

Along with the problem of prostitution, another area that is quite profitable for Cambodia has developed - begging. In this area, Cambodia acts as a supplier of ethnic Khmer workers to Thailand and Vietnam to work as beggars. UNICEF estimates that up to 20,000 Cambodian children are working on the streets of Thailand. The average salary in high season is $10 per day. Some of them additionally collect urban garbage 13.

In some cases, children in Thailand or Vietnam are taught the basics of foreign languages so that they can ask for money from foreign tourists.

Often children are given injections or mutilated to evoke pity - it is believed that in this case they will bring more income. So, in 2005 - 2006, about 2 thousand fish were caught in Ho Chi Minh City. cambodian children who were engaged in begging 14. Despite the fact that they were sent home, 40-50% of them still returned to Vietnam 15.

Cambodia and Vietnam are developing their own strategies and action programs to combat human trafficking. Cambodia, for example, has adopted a program that raises the salaries of border guards and law enforcement officials as a way to combat corruption; increases the educational level of low-income groups so that girls can find other jobs; and AIDS education for women who work in the sexual sphere and men who use it services.

Vietnam also adopted a six-year program

page 57

(2004-2010) to combat trafficking in women and children, the main goal of which was to significantly reduce the number of such crimes by 2010. It is worth noting that the governments of the two countries are aware of the need for joint coordinated actions to combat these problems. Cooperation with Cambodia is particularly important for Vietnam, as the number of Vietnamese women and children exported to Cambodia far exceeds the number of Khmer women entering Vietnam. For example, in 1996-2004, 7.6 thousand people were trafficked from Cambodia, 67% of them children, while in 2005 alone, according to the Ministry of the Interior of Vietnam, about 10 thousand women and children were trafficked from Vietnam to Cambodia.16 According to the US State Department's Human Rights report, 80% of the girls involved in Cambodia's sex industry are Vietnamese citizens.17

At the end of 2005, Vietnam and Cambodia signed an agreement on combating trafficking in human goods, as well as providing assistance to victims and deporting them to their homeland. From 2006 to the end of 2007, government agencies in Vietnam managed to solve 639 crimes in this area, with a total number of victims of more than 2 thousand people. 18 Cambodia was actively involved in operations to free women and children, as most of the crimes were carried out in the border provinces. Between 2005 and 2007, several hundred victims of human trafficking were officially deported from Vietnam and Cambodia.19

However, despite all efforts in the fight against trafficking in human goods, it is impossible to completely eliminate this type of criminal activity, because, firstly, it is a whole network of shadow businesses, with their own structures and well-established mechanisms, with considerable income; and secondly, in a number of South-East Asian countries, in particular Cambodia, especially in its border areas, continues to experience low living standards, poverty and unemployment, which increases the number of victims who are easily drawn into prostitution and begging. The situation is also aggravated not only by poor legislation and corruption, but also by the fact that the state structures of Cambodia are not able to fully control the border and cover the main flows of trade in human goods.




4 Combating the Trafficking in Children and their Exploitation in Prostitution and Other intolerable Forms of Child Labour in Mekong Basin Countries // Southeast Asian ministers of education organization (SEAMEO), Bangkok, 2000.

5 Ibidem.

Silverstein K. 6 Is bying sex a better way to help Cambodian women than buying a T-shirt? // Slate, 19.05.2011.'

7 ILO, Cambodia - addressing HIV vulnerabilities of indirect sex workers during the financial crisis: Situation analysis, strategies and entry points for HIV/AIDS workplace education, Bangkok 2011.


9 ILO, Cambodia - addressing HIV vulnerabilities...

Derks A., Henke R., Vanna L. 10 Review of a Decade of Research on Trafficking in Persons, Cambodia // The Asia Foundation. Phnom Penh. 2006.

11 Quarterly Trend Monitoring Brief on Sexual Trafficking, Sexual Exploitation and Rape in Cambodia // ECPAT, January-March 2012.

12 Combating the Trafficking in Children and their Exploitation...


14!d=82& Eventld-18 (11.04.2009)

15 Ibidem.

16 Saigon Giai Phong, May 2006.

17 Cambodia human rights report -

18 11.04.2009.

19 United Nations Inter-Agency Project on Human Trafficking (UNIAP) - 0data%20sheet.pdf 11.04.2009


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