Danish Red Cross Vows to Fight Trafficking in Cambodia

A third of Cambodia’s population live below the UN’s poverty limit. Consequently, many choose to either send their children away to the big cities or to the richer neighboring countries or to simply go there themselves in search of work and a better life. However, the rural hope of urban bliss is often built on a lack of knowledge about the realities of life in big cities like Hanoi or Phnom Penh.
     It is hard to find a job, and there is a great risk of ending up in prostitution or as forced laborers, explains Mettine Due, who is the programme coordinator for the Danish Red Cross in Southeast Asia.
     In Cambodia and its neighboring countries, between 250,000 and 400,000 women are sold every year for prostitution and forced labor, the Danish Red Cross reports. And those numbers are growing. The demand is big among the tourists, of whom more than 20 per cent reportedly visit Cambodia for sex.

The Danish Red Cross is working together with the Cambodian Red Cross to develop a programme, which will inform people about trafficking – the official term for organized slave trading – in order for people to avoid the various traps. The programme is supported with 500,000 DKK, which the Danish Red Cross collected in the nationwide collection campaign in Denmark on October 1 this year.
     One of the elements in the programme is to get former victims of trafficking to tell others about their experiences when they return, thereby killing the myths concerning the attractive big city. In addition to this, police officers are being trained in how to take care of the women and children they come into contact with who have been victims of trafficking.
     ”When they escape their slave traders and go back to Cambodia, many are in need of help. That’s why we are working on setting up various booths at the Thai border, where local Red Cross workers will meet them and help them. Some are in need of physical first-aid, others need a place to live, while others may need help to return to their village,” says Mettine Due.

You can read more about the activities of the Danish Red Cross at www.drk.dk and about the activities of the Cambodian Red Cross at www.redcross.org.kh.

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