With the support of USAID’s Cambodia Countering Trafficking-in-Persons (CTIP) program carried out in partnership with Winrock International, the Cambodian Center for the Protection of Children’s Rights (CCPCR) has reintegrated 15 survivors of labor trafficking and exploitation back to their communities in August. The survivors had been repatriated from Malaysia by the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
The survivors came from poor families and were cheated by brokers to work in Malaysia illegally on the promise of good jobs. While in Malaysia they were physically abused and forced to work up to 16 hours a day with little pay, sleep or food. The Malaysian police arrested them for working illegally and imprisoned them for months before the survivors were returned to Cambodia through the assistance of IOM and other stakeholders.
Back in Cambodia, the survivors were referred to the program, which has helped them reintegrate back into their villages. The survivors have been warmly welcomed back to their communities by their parents, relatives and neighbors. Their families and friends had lost hope for the survivors’ return after having no contact with them for so long.
One of the survivors expressed his commitment not to repeat unsafe migration and plans to share his experience with his friends and relatives in order to stop unsafe migration. “Do not migrate unsafely to Malaysia like I did, it was difficult to there,” he said. “You could be mistreated by your employer, nothave enough sleep or food to eat and end up in jail like me."
As well as providing travel arrangements, counseling and family assessments, CCPCR is delivering training, business assistance or job placements to the survivors. Through this they will be able to earn a stable income and reduce their vulnerability to labor trafficking.
The survivors’ families thanked IOM and the program for returning their family members home safely and expressed their regret at allowing them to work abroad through unknown brokers.
One village chief who had welcomed some of the returnees said that many people from his village have gone to work abroad because so many of them do not have a proper job or agricultural land.
“Reintegration support is very important because most of survivors were away from home for so long,” said CCPCR’s Reintegration Officer. “Importantly, we will find them jobs to avoid repeated unsafe migration and a better situation for their family.”
Over a four-year period, the project will provide 2,000 trafficking survivors with support services, and will strengthen survivor protection and services through training of 2,000 service providers. The program aims to help vulnerable people address the economic root causes of trafficking through diversified, climate-resilient livelihood options.