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Cambodia

Combating Forced Labor Slavery

Labor trafficking in Southeast Asia and reports of slavery in supply chains are making international headlines. At the heart of the region, Cambodia is a source, transit and destination for forced labor slavery.

Impoverished migrant workers are particularly vulnerable in a variety of industries, like fishing, domestic servitude, and child begging. There are not yet reliable studies detailing labor trafficking patterns within Cambodia, but there have been cases reported in sectors like construction, manufacturing and agriculture.

After more than a decade of successfully working against child sex trafficking, IJM launched a new project in 2016 to combat cross-border and domestic labor trafficking.


IJM is a partner on a large USAID Counter Trafficking in Persons grant, managed by Winrock International.

“Over the last 12 years, we have seen the impossible happen. Hundreds have been rescued. Hundreds of traffickers and abusers have been held accountable for their crimes in local courts. Passionate government officials are working hard, and their consistent action has led to an astounding decrease in the number of minors being bought and sold.”

Christa Hayden Sharpe Former IJM Cambodia Field Office Director

IJM’s Aftercare Department has trained police in victim/witness interviewing and child-friendly practices, significantly improving police ability to build rapport with children and to obtain truthful testimony in police interviews. Since 2003, we have partnered with local authorities rescue 500 victims of trafficking and have secured the convictions of 193 trafficking perpetrators.

A 2013 study found that the prevalence of children being sold in establishments in Sihanoukville, Siem Reap, and Phnom Penh dropped dramatically over the past decade of IJM’s work. Estimates of the prevalence of minors in the sex trade were high as 15–30%, with many believed to be ages 15 and under. Today, the rate of minors 15 and under is down to only 0.1%.

Our Team in Cambodia

Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Field Office Director: Peter Williams
Established: 2004
Focus: Forced Labor Slavery

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