The US State Department has upgraded Cambodia from the bottom tier of its human trafficking list to recognise improved efforts to apprehend and prosecute human traffickers. 1
The US State Departments’ 2006 report stated that although Cambodia failed to meet US-defined minimum standards for the prevention of human trafficking, increasingly active law enforcement activities to disrupt human trafficking networks and the prosecution of officials believed to be involved in the illicit trade demonstrated progress, The Cambodia Daily reported.
In the report, the US Embassy specifically thanked Cambodian officials for their efforts to combat human traffickers at the Chai Hour II Hotel and for cooperating with US officials in the arrest of an American on charges of sexually assaulting Cambodian minors, according to Cambodge Soir. US Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission Mark Storella said that all sanctions imposed on Cambodia when it was downgraded to the third and lowest tier will be lifted, Cambodge Soir reported. “We have just started evaluating the existence of these sanctions, so we cannot say whether it will impact on the US assistance to Cambodia at this time”, he said. He told Rasmei Kampuchea that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice expressed appreciation for the cooperation of the ministers of Women’s Affairs, Interior and Justice showed local and international NGOs when fighting human trafficking.
The report added that she requested the Cambodian government prosecute more high-ranking officials who benefit from human trafficking, according to Koh Santepheap.National Police Commissioner Hok Lundy said he was relieved to hear about the promotion to the second tier and denied that he was involved with human trafficking as alleged by John Miller, head of the US State Department’s human trafficking office, The Cambodia Daily reported. US downgraded Cambodia to the third tier on its human trafficking watchdog list in December 2004 after a group of armed men, some reportedly with links to the military, raided a shelter fr trafficked women run by the NGO AFESIP. The men released more than 80 women who had been detained by the police in a raid on Chai Hour II Hotel a day earlier. Seven men arrested during the raid on the hotel were also ordered released by a high ranking official.1 Adapted from: ‘US upgrades Cambodia in fight against human trafficking.’ Development Weekly. 12-18 June 2006. (Source: UNIAP Cambodia)
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