SIDO Cambodia
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Cambodia with its 14.2 Million populations is in a step of improving human right at the same time, in some provinces still remaining the remarkable problems. Therefore, SIDO has set up the related projects to fight those issues such as:
  • Capacity trainings and advocacy
  • Domestic violence and peace building
  • Rape protection and care centre
  • Protection on commercial sexual exploitation and care
  • Stopping illegal child labor and creating job opportunities
  • Human right and related rights empowerment
  • And other related project focus areas

SIDO in Cambodia has conducted several researches in different provinces that one research in particularly which we take, Ratanakiri province. It is one of the 24 provinces in Cambodia, located up Northeast, about 600km from Phnom Penh by national road, has diverse populations with 13 different ethnic groups. Pnong, Toum Poun, Jarai and Kreoung have lower education and are dominantly vulnerable and face all forms of human right abuses, especially domestic violent, child trafficking, rape, land grabbing and human rights abuse. The total population of this province is 120,036 .

Furthermore, Ratanakiri is an area rich in rainforest and luscious scenery which is newly attracting eco-tourists. A road from Phnom Penh to Ratanakiri province has been recently restored which has greatly improved access to the region providing greater opportunities for business and tourism. Without necessary support structures in place, it is a concern that with the increased accessibility and demand in the area will come increased vulnerability of the community and especially children to problems such as labor exploitation, human trafficking, commercial sexual exploitation, sexual abuse, and domestic violence.

According to economic and business situation, this province is depend on the goods that import from Vietnam and other province in country and Phnom Penh, so in Banloung district it have a lot of Vietnamese family that live and do business in here including legal and illegal in the field of laundry, seller, worker, prostitutes... Furthermore, all of them some migrated with their family and some migrated by trafficker for business in this area and to other country by across Cambodia border.

Ratanakiri Province is a province which has 80% of ethnic minorities. Their living depends on different custom and tradition. Before, in Ratanakiri rarely has domestic violence or rape even they were drunk. But in this recent 5 years ago, after there is flowing of external culture, there are many people increasingly, and economic situation is better, we see that people living in Ratanakiri has changed in many different ways such as it has domestic violence, drug trafficking, rape, crime, etc.

Rape is one of the most serious crimes committed against Cambodian women and children. It is one of the least recognized crimes due to Cambodian social and cultural attitudes towards of women and children and sexuality. There are no clear statistics on the number of women and children who are raped every year in Cambodia. However in recent year, the reporting of rape crimes has significantly increased. In recent year, cases of violent rapes, gang rapes and rape crimes of children and younger women have also been reported to several NGOs.

This increase in reporting may be attributed go greater awareness of women’s rights and child rights due to significant efforts by civil society to advocate and educate and also by increased reporting in the media of rape crimes. Rape is not mentioned within the State Report thereby failing to acknowledged rape as a serious crime affection Cambodian women and children.

Also, in Ratanakiri Province, According to the report of Child Protection Network (CPN) member that he is an officer of office anti-human trafficking and juvenile protection of Provincial Police Station reported that in the first semester of 2007 has 7 cases were happened include:

All these cases are the some of figure that was reported and some of cases of sexual abuse in community level are has been solution between family victim and family rapist or papist themselves by cooperated

with local authority and because of justice system have corruption, not dependence, and weak of law that make some of these case are was keeping in community level and some in court institutional.

“Reported cases may represent only a small fraction of the sexual assaults actually perpetrated in Cambodia. It is impossible for any organization, to reliably estimate the number of rape cases that go unreported every day”.

From 1997-2005, over one thousand rape cases have been reported to investigating NGOs. This figure however, grossly underestimates the true extent of rape crimes perpetrated in Cambodian society. There are many factors that may contribute to victims refusing to report rape crimes and in pursuing legal action:

    • Distrust of the justice system (the victim may by wary of corruption within the judicial system).
    • The costs of pursuing a prosecution (there are no legal court fees for proceeding with a criminal case, however, in practice, hidden fees are demanded at various levels due to corruption officials).
    • Victims may fear relation from their perpetrator (especially when the perpetrator is in a position of authority over the victim).
    • Social and culture myths (the victim may sometimes believe they are at fault for the rape).
    • Unofficial “compensation” settlement between perpetrator and victims (many cases are settled out of court by marriage or money).
    • Loss of virginity (victims may be overcome with shame if they loss their virginity during a rape). This loss of virginity may seem more important than punishment of the perpetrator.
    As in many countries, domestic violence in Cambodia is an insidious problem that physically, mentally and emotionally scars its victims. Unlike other countries however, Cambodia has a traditional moral code of behavior , the CHAB SREY, that states that women must serve and respect their husbands at all times. Advice includes “never tattle anything to your parents about your husband or this will cause the village to erupt”; “never turn your


Case Study 1

On June 17, 2006 there was rape case on children age 12 that happened in cashew farm on Bopha*, Khmer nation not achieved because of interrupt from workers are working near there at village 1, Lamenh commune, Borkeo district and her father's name PHEN VAEN and mother’s name ITH VETH are workers of peanut farm and rapist’s name Choub Sok, age 47, not clear address and living in the same village with child victim. Good luck of this child, which this case not achieved but she was hurt on eye and throat that hit by rapist.

Moreover, the child victim family’s is the new migration from Chamkar Ler district, Kampong Cham Province to live in Borkeo district in during 8 days before this case happen. Also child victim, CSF was prepared legal document send her to “Good day Center” of Health Care of Children (HCC) on June 30, 2006 by allowed from her parents, local authority, her lawyer, and office of anti-human trafficking and juvenile protection about processing of sending child victim of center.

This issue is the part of dangerous that has been happening on poor-family that moves from home land to other area (non-safe migration) by poverty.

Rape is a crime (felony) under the UNTAC Criminal Code and also under the law on Aggravating Circumstances of the Felonies.

Also, 25 May 2007 at the Ratanakiri court was open the sentenced to punish to perpetrator in amount of 7 years include date that was arrested and sends to prison already.

Source: Evaluation Report of Child abuse Prevention Project, CSF 2006
*Note: the name of victim in this case study is the name that instant of the name of victim, code 001.


back to your husband when the sleeps and
never touch his head without first bowing in honor”; and “have patience, prove your patience, never respond to his excessive anger”. Culture and tradition dictates that women striving to attain this behavior will be rewarded. As a consequence of this moral code, Cambodian women suffering from domestic violence will not discuss their problems with outside parties, believing that problem within the marriage should stay private.

In keeping with the traditions of Cambodia’s silence on domestic violence, the State Report contains limited information on violence against women and children, in particular on the issue of domestic violence.
Also, in Ratanakiri Province, According to the document report of commune councils has reported that in the full year of 2006 have 106 cases were happened and 30 cases has been solve by local authority includes:

  • Violence on physical 40 cases
  • Violence on sexual abuse 9 cases
  • Violence on spirit 52 cases
  • Violence on economic 5 cases
There are may factor contributing to this growing problem. Some studies have shown that rising poverty leads to increasing cases of domestic violence . A connection can also be made between Cambodians suffering from three decades of civil war in Cambodia to a shift to overt violence entering into the domestic sphere .

Child labor is unquestionably and visibly dotting the Cambodian landscape but it is also viewed as an integral part of it. Working children by forgoing an education contribute to a cycle of illiteracy and poverty. The reality is that more than 1.5m children work, with an estimated 250,000 of them involved in its worst forms. The largest number of child workers is employed informally in the agricultural industry and this tends not to be heavy or hazardous work and the child can usually still attend school. A weak education system, poverty, lack of enforcement and cultural acceptance all serve to support the child labor market. ILO Conventions No.138 on the Minimum Age for Employment and No.182 on the Prohibition and Immediate Elimination of the Worst Forms


Case Study 2

On Depend on report of Mrs. Phal Buntoun is focal person in charge of women and children in Kachanh Commune, Banloung District, Ratanakiri Province said that there was domestic violence in 3rd Village, Kachanh Commune, Banloung District. This case happened in Lim Ly’s family. He is 42 years old. He is Khmer and his wife name’s Cha Leo Noi. She is Kreoung and she is 28 years old. In this report clarified that on 03 November, 2005, Mr. Lim Ly who is a husband of Mrs. Cha Leo Noi drank alcohol. He drunk and he made argue with his wife from at the evening until at 11:00 at night. He also hit his wife seriously until she was unconscious. When he saw like that, he ran away from his house. The neighbors saw his wife injury so seriously so they bring her to Operating District Hospital immediately. But she dies on 07 November, 2005 in that hospital because her injury was too serious. For Mr. Lim Ly suicide (hang his neck) since 06 November, 2005.

Base on this report and other rumored information of the villagers who live near happen place indicated that he often make violence to his wife whenever he drunk.

Source: Report of situation of violence on women and children in Ratanakiri, 2006 of Women Affair Department Ratanakiri Province.

of Child Labor have now both been ratified. Cambodian law allows wage employment only of children above 15 and further prohibits hazardous work by children younger than 18.
Children continue to be involved in labor practices most notably in the informal sector which is largely unregulated and has no barriers to access. They are farm laborers, beggars, scavengers and domestic workers in urban areas. Those in the formal sector are working in the salt, fishing, brick and construction industries. An International Labor Organization (ILO) recent study estimated 28,000 child domestic workers (mostly aged between 7 and 17) in Phnom Penh who work as the result of abject poverty, the movement of people from rural to urban areas and a continually weak education system. The ILO considers them to be at risk because their situation and the conditions of their employment are to a large extent unknown. Most work seven days a week, receive no cash salary, rather payment in kind such as shelter, food and possibly an education although they are subject to absenteeism because of heavy work schedules and are possibly subject to abuse .

Working conditions of children within some of the most hazardous forms of labor are extremely detrimental to health and impact on all aspects of development. In the fishing industry children often work all night, many of those working in the day are exposed to the sun without any protective gear and have little access to drinking water. Those children working on land, peeling crabs and shrimps sit all day in buildings with no proper ventilation.

The full breadth and parameters of urban child labor is not known. Recent research conducted by World Vision (WV) assesses to some extent the “scope, magnitude, dynamics and impact of the worst forms of urban child labor in Phnom Penh and Battambang” and consists of interviews with 102 child laborers between the ages of 5-18 who all involved in a variety of work . 68% of those interviewed in Phnom Penh had never attended school and there were a high number illiterate, 66% were working full time and 34% were attending school on a part time basis, similar results were found in Battambang. The impacts go beyond being obviously exploitative as they contribute significantly to a continued cycle of poverty.

The World Vision report found that with exception of ILO-IPEC`s support for the Government’s Time Bound Program, not enough organizations were directly working towards the elimination of the worst forms of child labour, offering instead short-term and immediate assistance in the form of literacy and material support. Doubts were raised by the child workers themselves of the ability of NGOs to offer long-term assistance and permanent solutions. The children interviewed were to a large extent working to pay off family debts and this has to be the area targeted in any prevention campaigns in the form of alternative income generation and micro-credit. Child labour is about survival and immediate needs, issues which can be addressed.

Moreover, a lot of children in commune that cover by rubber tree farm are working in there and some of this children are not go to study although it have some primary school in commune but the number of child enroll are still low too and the number of child dropout of school by difference condition are increase.

The Royal Government of Cambodia (RGC) is committed to progressively eliminating all form of child labor and immediately ending its worst forms. The National Poverty Reduction Strategy and the Cambodians Millennium Development Goals aim to reduce the proportion of children labor to 8 per cent by 2015. Schooling is seen as one of the best tools to combat child labor and school enrolments are on the rise; with the Nation Plan of Action on Education seeking to put all children aged 6 to 14 in school by 2010. The Education For All (EFA) initiative commits to enrolling all children by 2015.

Cambodia is a source, transit and receiving country of victims of trafficking. Cambodia’s most vulnerable children are routinely trafficked for sex work, labor and begging both internally and across borders. Profits made by traffickers along with relatively low risks of being apprehended contribute to its continuance. This is compounded by the involvement of both low and high ranking officials, continuing demand and the fact that arrests have not reached a critical mass to alter the cost/benefit analysis of the trafficker. Children and young women account for one of the largest groups of trafficked people and many are trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation. The roots of trafficking are deep and the problem is spread widely.

The National Plan of Action (NPA) against Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation expired in 2004 and a second NPA (2006-2010) drafted under the CNCC is under Government review. This will delineate the responsibilities of the relevant ministries more specifically.

The current legislative framework is the 1996 Law on the Suppression of Kidnapping, Trafficking and Exploitation of Human Beings. This Law has no definition of the age at which sexual consent can be given and no clear definition of debauchery (the charge under which most prosecutions are brought). If a person engages in sexual activities with a minor under 15, that child is deemed incapable of consenting. Prison terms are between 10-20 years. Rape and indecent assault are tried under the UNTAC Code of 1992 and carry penalties of between 5-10 years. These crimes are more difficult to prove. A new trafficking law is currently being drafted and is discussed in more detail below.

Cambodia is playing host to an increased number of tourists and is emerging as a destination for child sex tourism. Children fall prey to visiting sex tourists both in brothels and tourist areas. The use of intermediaries in the form of moto-dups, guesthouse/hotel employees and tour guides also facilitate access to children. Numbers of children being exploited in this way vary considerably in research reports, but what is evident is that children are being abused in considerable numbers by both Western but more predominantly, Asian tourists. It should be noted however, that child sexual exploitation is perpetrated by a large number of Cambodian men rather than having a purely international base. With a rapidly expanding tourism industry and continuing lax law enforcement the situation of foreigner based exploitation is allowed to continue. Corruption is noted as being symptomatic on every level. Impunity and poverty make access to children possible.

Also, in Ratanakiri Province, According to the report of Child Protection Network (CPN) member that he is an officer of office anti-human trafficking and juvenile protection of Provincial Police Station reported that 208 persons are working in all these vulnerable places as:

 10 Brothels have 76 sex workers is working
 21 Karaoke shops have 89 women signers is working
 9 Hotels have 15 women workers is working
 10 Gust houses have 17 women workers is working
 5 Massages shop have 11 massagers is working

Due to social factor and following by context and development program in Ratanakiri today, see that in this province is changing and have many problems for children and women like described above. The problems which described above are just little problems that Women Affair Department got. It means that there are a lot of problems which we did not solve. Hence, in this 2007, found that there are many problems that this province is facing and effect seriously to women especially, ethnic minorities. The most problem are domestic violence, sexual abuse, labor exploitation, rape, theft, and swindle.

“The consequences of poverty, lack of effective law enforcement, lack of protection against human rights abuses, lack of respect for the rights of the child, lack of education and economic burden provides opportunities for child abuse to be fostered and largely ignored in communities”
By control the fact situation or the problem especially those problems above, project member will commit and operate work closely with Child Protection Network (CPN) at province, Village Child Protection Network (VCPN) at village, Children’s Board (CB) at district, School Children Network (SCN) at primary school, child peer educator and participation of local authority and related institutions to prevent the problems. But in order to work successfully or to protect women and children unless there is intervention from all government institutions.

Human Right workshop of TOT
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