A Change of Guard

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Thursday, 6 October 2011

Royce Amendment Condemns Cambodia’s Human Trafficking Record

October 5, 2011
Royce Amendment Condemns Cambodia’s Human Trafficking Record

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- During today’s House Foreign Affairs Committee markup reauthorizing the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000, Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), an active participant in the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, successfully offered a bipartisan amendment calling for the Kingdom of Cambodia to be designated as a Tier 3 country for its egregious human trafficking record.

"The government of Cambodia insufficiently addressed their human trafficking problem and rampant corruption has exacerbated this form of modern day slavery," Royce said.

According to the State Department’s 2011 Trafficking in Persons report, Cambodia has made no improvements to identify or protect trafficking victims. News sources describe Cambodia as a "magnet" for those who sexually prey on the young. Additionally, Human Rights Watch describes Cambodia as being "plagued not only by widespread abuses committed by officials, but impunity for perpetrators."

Countries placed in Tier 3, the worst category, "do not fully comply with the Trafficking Victims Protection Act’s minimum standards and are not making significant efforts to do so." Tier 3 countries are subject to a U.S. aid cutoff. Cambodia is currently designated as a Tier 2 country.

"The 2011 report cities that Cambodian ‘entertainment establishments’ may exploit up to 200 women and children on a single night. Cambodian police have been unwilling to pursue certain trafficking investigations because they were thought to involve high-ranking officials," Royce said.

"By cataloging these vile practices, the State Department’s report allows us to spotlight human trafficking. But when we don't follow the facts to a Tier 3 designation for countries like Cambodia, we do a disservice to the victims of these gross human rights abuses," Royce said.

Rep. Royce is a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and is a member of the Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific.

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