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10 Mär 2022

UCA News (Hong Kong)

Cambodia: Rights groups lament 'crisis of forced labour, slavery and torture' as five Asian embassies warn of risk of human trafficking

Cambodia told to address forced labor, slavery and torture 10 March 2022

Civil society groups have told the Cambodian government to address the crisis of “forced labor, slavery and torture” after at least five Asian embassies warned its citizens against “such situations” in the country.

Reports indicated that thousands of people, mostly foreign nationals, had been kidnapped, sold, trafficked or tricked into accepting jobs in Cambodia only to find themselves detained in large compounds and forced to work, the groups said in a statement.

That work included online scam operations targeting foreign nationals outside the country, primarily based in the southern port town of Sihanoukville. Similar abuses had been reported in Phnom Penh, Pursat, Koh Kong and other provinces.

“Workers who escape report having faced physical and mental threats and violence at the hands of their captors,” the groups said, adding that the embassies of Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, Pakistan and China had issued warnings about the situation.

“The continued existence of these operations is a tragedy, and we are horrified that Cambodia is being used as a base for such inhumanity. All relevant actors must immediately guarantee that no one is subject to slavery or torture within Cambodia,” their statement said.

Signatories comprised 35 groups including Adhoc, the Cambodian Center for Human Rights, Licadho, International Justice Mission and Transparency International.

The statement was issued one day after Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Sar Kheng warned criminals he would put an end to crimes taking place in Sihanoukville before the mid-year commune elections. [...]