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Labour migrants’ vulnerability to human trafficking and labour exploitation in Southeast Asia: An analysis of Cambodia

Case/country study

Written by Henrik Alffram, Leang Sok

Image credit:Vouchlim Ton / Unsplash

Over the past few decades, millions of Cambodians have sought employment abroad, contributing significantly to the country’s economic development. However, the lack of straightforward, affordable, and transparent formal system for regular migration exposes these migrants to exploitation both in Cambodia and destination countries.

Private recruitment agencies (PRAs) play a crucial role in facilitating migration but can also contribute to unsafe practices and human trafficking. While there is a formal registration process, effective oversight of PRAS remains inadequate. Migrants lacking legal documents often believe they have no rights, perpetuating misconceptions even within Cambodian authorities.

This study sheds light on the challenges within the Cambodian criminal justice system, where convictions primarily target those at the lowest level in the migration chain. There is a pressing need for fair trial standards and proportional punishments for crimes committed.