Cambodia’s human traffickers alter their business model – UCA News

Cambodia has long been a magnet for human traffickers. Its porous borders, well-documented culture of impunity and an abundance of impoverished people hoping for a better life have enabled the scourge to flourish since a 30-year civil war ended in 1998. But the situation has changed since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic early last year when borders were closed, international flights reduced to a bare minimum and provinces locked down amid tight security. During the initial months, human trafficking ground to a halt before re-emerging with new dynamics amid the worst economic conditions in two decades, reshaping a business model that delivers a cheap, servile workforce and women into bondage. “Many of the former migrant workers who are stuck without work, without food and income, will seek ways to find them,” said Ou Virak, president of the Cambodian think tank Future Forum. “Given that border crossings were made illegal, people are likely looking for an underground way to reach employment.”  More than 260,000 of Cambodia’s 16.5 million people were trapped in some form of modern-day slavery prior to the pandemic, according to the Global Slavery Index published by the Australia-based Walk Free Foundation. 

Cambodia’s human traffickers alter their business model – UCA News

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