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Rampant Child Labor in Cambodia

by Bridget Di Certo and Chhay Channyda [from The Phnom Penh Post, Wednesday, 02 November 2011 12:04]
Labour legislation in Cambodia is so weak and so often ignored that half the Kingdom’s children between the ages of seven and 14 participate in the workforce, the world’s largest federation of unions has told the World Trade Organisation General Council in Geneva.

Children, women and ethnic and indigenous minorities suffer the most under the Kingdom’s “corrupt” enforcement of labour law, according to the International Trade Union Confederation, which has 150 million members.

Yesterday it presented its report detailing how Cambodia falls short of international labour standards, along with a list of recommendations to the WTO, which is conducting a trade policy review of Cambodia concluding tomorrow.
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Maid Firm Exposed

Yi Somphose, Tep Nimol, David Boyle and Eak Soung Chhay

Scores of crying women who said they had been forcibly detained and girls who claimed to have received fake documents to conceal the fact that they were as young as 16-years-old were discovered at a centre owned by the SKMM Investment Group labour recruitment firm yesterday.

A group of 47 women told a Post reporter some 20 under-age girls had been hidden at a restaurant to conceal them from police, while eyewitnesses outside another SKMM facility said they had seen recruits jumping out of windows to escape.

With tears pouring down her cheeks, 29-year-old Dam Nhean said SKMM staff told her that if she wanted to leave the centre to visit her baby, she would have to repay by double the US$800 loan she was given, reiterating claims made by many of the recruits. Read more

Somaly Mam: Cambodian anti-sex trafficking campaigner and founder of AFESIP, rescuing women from brothels and supporting their recovery

Emine Saner
The Guardian

Growing up in extreme poverty under the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia, Mam was sold into sexual slavery when she was 12, eventually ending up in a Phnom Penh brothel where she endured unimaginable daily torture and rape. After being made to watch as another girl, her best friend, was murdered, Mam escaped and was helped out of Cambodia by a French aid worker.

Instead of trying to rebuild her life in France, where she married, Mam returned to Cambodia to help girls who hadn’t been so lucky. In 1996, she set up her organization Afesip (Action for Women in Distressing Situations), to rescue girls and women from brothels and support their recovery. She has already helped more than 4,000 women and children, some as young as five, escape sexual slavery in south-east Asia and in 2007 set up the Somaly Mam Foundation, to raise awareness, campaign for change and fund projects to rescue and rehabilitate women and children sold into slavery.

Mam’s work has come at a terrible personal cost. Her life has been threatened by pimps and brothel owners, and in 2006, her then 14-year-old daughter was kidnapped and raped by three men, as retaliation for the work her mother does. In an interview in 2005 , Mam admitted to periods of desperation, including more than one suicide attempt. But in more recent years, asked why she continues to fight, she has always responded, “I don’t want to go without leaving a trace.”… Read the rest

Clinton: U.S. to Do More to End Sexual Slavery

To read this article at the Dailyrecord.com, please click here.

SIEM REAP, Cambodia (AP) — Pledging to do more to help end the scourge of sexual slavery, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton visited a rescue and rehabilitation center for child prostitutes in northern Cambodia on Sunday.

Before touring the famed 12th century Angkor Wat temple complex, Clinton met with a group of about 50 victims of human trafficking at the U.S.-funded facility in Siem Reap and promised them continued American support.

“I am so proud of you,” she told the girls and young women, most of whom are between 17 and 23. They receive an education and vocational training that includes weaving and sewing lessons.

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