By: Mr. Prak Sophorn, Assistant to the College of Law On 2 March 2017, Mr. Prak Sophorn, Assistant to the College of Law at The University of Cambodia, attended the Counter Stakeholder Meeting Against Human Trafficking, organized by the United Nations Action for Cooperation against Trafficking in Persons (UN-ACT). The primary objective of the meeting was to share information, exchange ideas and raise strategic recommendations on counter human trafficking efforts. In the first trimester meeting for 2017, the cases of human trafficking in Japan and surrogacy in Cambodia were discussed. Participants ranged from representatives from the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Women Affairs, the Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation, the Ministry of National Defense, various higher education institutions, and other national and international organizations. Ms. Lisa Chen, UN- ACT representative conferred the opening remarks and reviewed the report of the previous counter stakeholder meeting in December of last year.
Mr. Troy Dooley, Program Manager of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), presented the case of human trafficking in Japan. Many migrant workers from The Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, and Malaysia often seek work in Japan; however, some of these migrants have actually been trafficked and often face physical abuse. IOM worked closely with the Japanese authorities to help migrant workers return to their home country by providing assistance with basic needs, security, family assistance and also mental health support.
Mr. Lim Thet, from UN-ACT Cambodia, presented about surrogacy violations in Cambodia. “Surrogacy” is an agreement in which a woman agrees to a pregnancy achieved through assisted reproductive technology, in which none of the genetic material belongs to her, with the intention to carry and birth the child and then give the baby to its genetic parents who take full custody of the child. H.E. Ran Serey Leakhena, Representative from the Ministry of Interior, highlighted the further complexities of surrogacy. The Royal Government of Cambodia has placed a high importance on combating illegal surrogacy and trafficking in persons and will continue to work closely with other nations and national and international organizations and agencies. It is important to note that contemporary laws on surrogacy practices have not yet been adopted in Cambodia.
The last speaker, a representative from WINROCK International, highlighted a new program entitled, Asia Counter Trafficking in Persons (CTIP), supported by USAID. This program is intended to reduce trafficking in persons in Asia and more effectively address human trafficking risks and responses that transcend borders. The event concluded at 5:00pm on the same date with warm and meaningful closing remarks by Ms. Lisa Chen, UN-ACT representative.