[Stop-traffic] News/Cambodia: Human trafficking growing along ...

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Subject: [Stop-traffic] News/Cambodia: Human trafficking growing along ...
From: Melanie Orhant (morhant@igc.org)
Date: Sat Nov 11 2000 - 18:50:26 EST


                    FOCUS: Human trafficking growing along ...

OTC 11/9/00 2:52 AM

  POIPET, Cambodia, Nov. 9 (Kyodo) -- By: Puy Kea Human trafficking,
centering on Cambodia's northwestern city Poipet on the Thai border, is
growing as more and more Cambodians are lured by traffickers into Thailand
to earn money.
    According to local officials and aid workers, more than 100 traffickers
are believed to be spiriting poor Cambodians into Thailand to work as cheap
day laborers or as prostitutes.
    Poipet, about 300 kilometers northwest of Phnom Penh, already is a city
with stark contrasts between its rich and poor.
    Four luxurious casinos run almost around the clock, catering mainly to
rich Thais who cross the border to gamble, while poor Cambodians flood in
from all over the country to grab even the most menial of jobs or to simply
beg in the streets.
    Sok Khoeun, deputy chief of the Poipet district, said the number of
migrants, including children, to the area increased from 5,000 to 8,000
over a one-year period, while growing poverty among the migrants forces
many to choose to try to work across the border illegally.
    Suon Sokhorn, head of the nongovernmental Cambodian Women's Crisis
Center (CWCC), said there are about 100 human traffickers operating in the
area, targeting people who will work as unskilled laborers or in the sex
industry in Thailand.
    Those sought for prostitution can be as young as 11 years, Suon Sokhorn
added.
    Ngoun Reth, a 40-year-old widower with three children now back in
Poipet, said she went to Thailand to beg after her husband died.
    "I arrived in Bangkok, but in about a week I was arrested by the
police," she said.
    In the short time she was free, she earned only about 100 baht ($2.5) a
day in Bangkok even though she was asked to pay 3,000 baht to the
trafficker who guided her into Thailand.
    An Chen, a 17-year-old girl who now lives in a CWCC compound, was
trafficked into Thailand nearly two years ago, but was deported back to
Cambodia about a month after she arrived there.
    "I was sold to three places in Thailand, but no money was paid except
for a very small amount," she said.
    "Then, when I was arrested, the police confiscated all the 300 baht I
had earned, and I was deported back to Cambodia without any money at all,"
An Chen said.
    An Chen comes from a poor family that includes two elder sisters and a
younger brother and all three girls entered Thailand illegally through a
human trafficking dealer.
    Her two sisters remain in Thailand, but since An Chen arrived at the
CWCC, she has been unable to visit her home even though she misses her
parents very much.
    "I really want to visit my home, but I don't have any money for a trip,
" she said. A round-trip home would cost about $17.
    Pao Lim, a Cambodian police officer at the border, said about 500
illegal migrants are deported to Cambodia every month by the Thai
authorities, but according to the head of the Thai immigration police at
the border, the number depo
                 2000 Kyodo News (c) Established 1945
    -0-

        Copyright 2000
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