Motorbike taxi drivers have been enlisted as the first line of defense for Sihanoukville's children. They have been trained to recognise dangerous situations and take the appropriate action.
Cambodia has a reputation as being a safe haven for sex tourists, but recently a number of child sex offenders have been successfully prosecuted. Earlier this week, a court in Sihanoukville jailed a German man for 10 years. Now the people of the town are taking further steps to make their community a safer place for children.
The ChildSafe scheme uses specially-trained moto taxi drivers to keep an eye out for any suspicious activity. The scheme's been started by M'lop Tapang - an organisation which looks after Sihanoukville's growing number of street children. Its director, Eve Saosarin, says ChildSafe will help to attract the right kind of tourists to the town: "When the bad tourists come to Sihanoukville, the good tourists will not be interested. So by protecting our children and letting the bad tourists know that Sihanoukville is not a place that's easy to do sex or to get to the children - then I think the good tourists will come."
Moto taxis are the main form of public transport in Cambodia's towns and cities. With their drivers protecting children at risk, it is like having a community worker on every street corner. And as more people join the ChildSafe scheme, the organisers hope they will eventually drive away sex tourists.
Adapted from: "Cambodia taxi drivers fight abuse." news.bbc.co.uk. 22 October 2006.
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