International Law and Human Trafficking Thesis

Excerpt from Thesis :

The new law has prosecuted 426 traffickers in 203 cases. These traffickers had 844 victims in that year alone. This law imposes penalties from 10 years imprisonment to life imprisonment (Kyodo).

Myanmar: Effective or Not?

The capacity of the national government in fighting the problem of human trafficking has been limited (UNODC 2007). It is particularly limited in implementing policy changes in remote areas where traffickers operate. Anti-trafficking groups are looking into the situation. The UNODC addresses the issue by implementing projects and participating in partnership initiatives in the country. These projects and initiatives include increasing public awareness of the problem, provision of technical assistance for the law enforcement sector and the judiciary, greater and easier access to service providers and enhancing their capabilities (UNODC).


Reports say that Cambodia is a source, transit and destination country for human trafficking ( 2009). Human traffickers consist of organized crime syndicates, parents, relatives, friends, intimate partners and neighbors. Cambodian men, women and children are trafficked to Thailand, Malaysia, Macao and Taiwan. Men are forced to work in agriculture, fishing and construction in those countries. Women are trafficked for sexual exploitation and forced labor or domestic servitude. Children are also trafficked for the same ends to beg, solicit, vend and sell flowers. The Ministry of Social Affairs and Youth Rehabilitation found that 76% of these trafficked persons from Thailand belonged to families who owned land. They owned their house and owed nothing for the land or their house. And 47% of them said that their mother was the facilitator of their trafficking (

Internally, women and children are trafficked from rural to urban areas for sexual exploitation ( 2009). They are promised jobs as domestic servants but are instead forced to prostitution. The United Nations Inter-Agency Project on Human Trafficking attributes this incidence to poverty, socio-economic imbalance between rural and urban areas, increased tourism, unemployment, lack of education and unsafe migration. The International Labor Organization said that the effects of the Khmer Rouge regime accrue to the labor and sexual exploitation consequences of a lack of preparation for migration. Conflict and the lack of opportunities in rural areas enticed the people to the cities and urban areas. More than half of Cambodian population is below 20 years old and needing decent work. This increases the flow of cross-border migration and the vulnerability to human trafficking (

International Efforts

Human trafficking has become a serious problem in Cambodia in recent years (Kyodo

2007). The U.S., through Assistant Secretary for East Asian Pacific Affairs Christopher Hill and two other officials, urged Cambodia to accentuate efforts at curbing the violation. The U.S. officials made the entreaty with Cambodian National Police Commissioner General Hok Lundy. They suggested that public officials, including police officers, be prosecuted and convicted who got involved in trafficking. They pressed for greater responsiveness of the police to the problem. The United States sent more than $7 million in funds to eliminate or reduce human trafficking in Cambodia since 2003 (Kyodo).

The Cambodian government and other five member States of the Coordinated Mekong Ministerial Initiative against Trafficking or COMMIT met in Phnom Penh on May 6, 2005 (Kyodo 2007). They approved on a plan of action previously agreed on in Hanoi in March that year (Kyodo).

Domestic Laws and Responses

In response, the Cambodian government organized a task force against human trafficking in alignment with local and international non-governmental organizations (Kyodo 2007). This represented a major development in government's unified efforts at fighting the trafficking of men, women and children for slave labor, beggary, prostitution and other forms of exploitation. The task force is composed of 18 board members from 14 government ministries and local and international non-governmental organizations. Vice minister for women's affairs You Ay heads the task force. You Ay assured everyone that the government would not tolerate exploitation of any kind. He vowed to decimate human trafficking "once and for all." Director Reed Aeschliman of the United States Agency for International Development in Cambodia hailed the new organization and the commitment of You Ay. A grassroots non-governmental organization commented that it had rescued approximately 3,000 women and girls in Cambodia since the organization's founding in 1996. They were driven to prostitution. Some of them were as young as 5 years old (Kyodo).

The Cambodian Ministry of Interior said that the Cambodian police had arrested 65 persons for human trafficking (Kyodo 2007). From this number, 14 were convicted and sentenced to 5 to 24 years imprisonment in 2006. An anti-trafficking NGO reported that 21 others were arrested and 28 were convicted and sentenced to 1 up to 19 years of imprisonment and to indemnify the victims the equivalent of $750 to 2,500. In addition, several police officials were prosecuted for trafficking charges. Among them was the former Deputy Director of the Police Anti-Human Trafficking and Juvenile Protection Department who was convicted as an accomplice. He was sentenced to five years' imprisonment along with two of his subordinates. Two military officers and a policeman were also arrested for operating prostitution dens and trafficking. One of them was sentenced to five years suspension and a fine of $1,250 (Kyodo).

In the same year, the Cambodian police apprehended 13 foreign child sex tourists, who were later sentenced to imprisonment from 1 to 18 years (Kyodo 2007). Cambodia also helps turn over to the U.S. authorities for custody traffickers of sexually exploited children under the U.S. government's PROTECT Act. It also helped in deporting two other Americans charged with child sexual exploitation and child pornography. At the same time, the Cambodian government exerts effort in raising public awareness about human trafficking. In 2006, the police conducted an information campaign among 20,000 students in Seim Reap and 3,000 students in Phnom Penh (Kyodo).

Cambodia: Effective or Not?

Cambodia remains in the Tier 2 Watch List in the 2007 U.S. Department of State's

Trafficking of Persons Report (Kyodo 2007). This is because the Cambodian government

has not fully complied with the minimum standards of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act in eliminating trafficking. It has not controlled the crime since 2005. Some of its law enforcement and government officials are said to accept or solicit bribes for the facilitation of trafficking and prostitution. Apprehended government officials who cooperated in the crime as accomplices said so (Kyodo).


Today, Russia is altogether a source, transit point, and destination of trafficked men, women and children (CIA 2009). It stands as a significant source of trafficked women to more than 50 countries for commercial sexual purposes. Trafficked people pass through and end up in Russia from Central Asia, Eastern Europe and North Korea to Central and Western Europe and the Middle East for force labor and sexual exploitation. Internal trafficking in Russia remains a stubborn problem. They are forced out of rural areas to urban centers for sexual exploitation. Russian men are also brought in from Central Asia for forced labor in the construction and agricultural industries. The rest of them enter debt bondage and child sex tourism. Russia has been in the watch list for its failure to present convincing evidence of effective efforts at curbing human trafficking. Evidence required included assistance to trafficked victims. Comprehensive legislation for the welfare of victims has pended since 2003 where it was neither passed nor enacted in 2007 (CIA).

International Efforts

Last year, however, new efforts to control human trafficking surfaced across Russia (Klomegah 2008). The Moscow office of the International Organization of Migration began implementing the Prevention of Human Trafficking program. This program is jointly funded by the European Commission, the U.S. State Department and the Swiss government. Legal experts from the International Labor Organization are applying certain features of counter-trafficking legislation in the European Union to repair gaps in Russian law. The program's goals are to complement efforts of the authorities and civil society and to assist in the prosecution and criminalization of human trafficking. Members of the Commonwealth of Independent States signed an anti-trafficking cooperation program for the Baltic states of Latria, Lithuania and Estonia. The program will last till 2010. On the other hand, the Angel Coalition noted that government action proved inefficient to control this fast-growing phenomenon. One reason could be the lack of studies on the social conditions, which create or enhance human trafficking. The Coalition attributed the rise of human trafficking and sexual exploitation to a range of factors, which make post-Soviet states a conducive environment for the violations. But nothing much can be done without administrative instruction from a government agency (Klomegah).

Winrock International and the U.S. Agency for International Development set up the Trafficking Prevention Project as a two-and-a-half grant to serve Siberia and the Russian Far East region (Klomegah 2008). The grant ceased in 2004 and was extended to 2006. It funded 29 Russian NGOs designed to prevent trafficking through job opportunities, entrepreneurial skill and skills training for girls and women. They also extended psychological, legal and career services (Klomegah).

Domestic Laws and Other Efforts

There are only a few NGOs…

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