US praises Cambodia’s crackdown on prostitution

Asia-Pacific News

Jun 5, 2008, 11:10 GMT

“US praises Cambodia’s crackdown on prostitution”

Phnom Penh – The United States Thursday gave its support to fierce Cambodian crackdowns on brothels and saluted anti-human trafficking efforts in its annual Trafficking in Persons report.

Phnom Penh – The United States Thursday gave its support to fierce Cambodian crackdowns on brothels and saluted anti-human trafficking efforts in its annual Trafficking in Persons report.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said in a statement that the US appreciated concerted government efforts to stamp out the trade.

The news flew in the face of a protest by more than 100 sex workers and representatives Wednesday condemning the government\’s zero tolerance policy against brothels enshrined in a new law they claimed equated consensual sex work with trafficking.

Activists claimed the new law outlawing brothels is forcing sex workers away from education and health programmes and onto the streets. They said it had also led to police abuses of sex workers\’ human rights, including rape and robbery.

‘That protest was a protest against the law, ‘ Cambodian Interior Minister Sar Kheng told a press conference. ‘Please show us the evidence that police or competent authorities are harming or doing something wrong to you.’

US embassy officials said the US government had pumped 14 million dollars into Cambodian anti-trafficking measures since 2003 and now believed the investment was paying off.

Rice said Cambodia still did not fully comply with US anti-trafficking standards, ‘however it is making a significant effort to do so.’

Cambodia ‘has strongly supported an anti-trafficking effort including publicly promoting a zero tolerance policy’, she said.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said in a statement that the US appreciated concerted government efforts to stamp out the trade.

The news flew in the face of a protest by more than 100 sex workers and representatives Wednesday condemning the government’s zero tolerance policy against brothels enshrined in a new law they claimed equated consensual sex work with trafficking.

Activists claimed the new law outlawing brothels is forcing sex workers away from education and health programmes and onto the streets. They said it had also led to police abuses of sex workers’ human rights, including rape and robbery.

‘That protest was a protest against the law,’ Cambodian Interior Minister Sar Kheng told a press conference. ‘Please show us the evidence that police or competent authorities are harming or doing something wrong to you.’

US embassy officials said the US government had pumped 14 million dollars into Cambodian anti-trafficking measures since 2003 and now believed the investment was paying off.

Rice said Cambodia still did not fully comply with US anti-trafficking standards, ‘however it is making a significant effort to do so.’

Cambodia ‘has strongly supported an anti-trafficking effort including publicly promoting a zero tolerance policy’, she said.

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