What Do We Know About Human Trafficking in Cambodia?

Thursday, July 07, 2011
"How many children are caught up in prostitution in Cambodia?"

"What are the main causes of the trafficking of children in Cambodia?"
 
"What are effective ways to combat trafficking in Cambodia?"
 
These are three questions I am often asked when discussing the problem of human trafficking and exploitation of children in Cambodia. Numerous research studies and even more articles, blogs and funding appeals offer answers and explanations to these questions and more. While there is no denying that answers to these questions do exist, there are no simple answers. Journalists and aid organizations who are accused of painting an overly simplistic (and perhaps sensationalized) picture of human trafficking may have reasons for doing so, but anyone interested in taking a deeper look into the complexities of human trafficking in Cambodia and what we actually know about it should examine the 2006 Asia Foundation and Center for Advanced Study report entitled, "Review of a Decade of Research on Trafficking in Persons, Cambodia." 
 
Quoting the study, "This report...systematically reviews what the available information can--and cannot--tell us about the patterns, extent and consequences of trafficking in Cambodia." The Review finds that the information on trafficking is patchy, often unsubstantiated and regularly reflecting program or donor interest. 
 
While it is now five years old, the Review is valuable for the following reasons:
  1. The Review lists nearly seventy studies published (1994-2005) on trafficking in persons in Cambodia 
  2. The Review chastens those who uncritically tout trafficking numbers and statistics in Cambodia.
  3. The Review provides a skeptical, but helpful, lens for reading trafficking-related research in Cambodia.
  4. The Review produces several helpful charts illustrating the dynamics of trafficking in Cambodia.
  5. The Review highlights gaps in knowledge about trafficking in persons in Cambodia.
  6. The Review offers a number of worthwhile recommendations for future trafficking-related research in Cambodia.
 
Jeremy Floyd
Project Manager - SE Asia Directive

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Comments

07-Jul-2011 01:48 PM
Thanks Jeremy for pointing us to some specific research and ways forward. There are a lot of emotional claims in the fundraising -- it is helpful to be taken back to original research to keep us all on target.
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