Article: “Child crimes up in August”

The Child Protection Unit (CPU) is a team of trained law enforcement and aftercare specialists working to protect children in Cambodia from abuse and to secure justice for survivors and their families. Free To Shine has partnered with the CPU and referred several cases of severe physical and sexual abuse to them in the past. Last month, the CPU handled 29 cases of serious crimes committed against children, including cases of rape and homicide. According to this article from The Phnom Penh Post, there was an apparent surge in crimes against children in August, when compared to previous months. Free Continue Reading →

Article: Exhaustion causes 73 to faint at H&M factory in Cambodia

On August 30, 2017, 73 Cambodian women fainted at the H&M supplier factory, Berry Apparel. Most were subsequently taken to a hospital for treatment. This event sheds light on the ongoing issue of working conditions in garment factories in Cambodia and across the region. The factories are known for long working hours, uncomfortably high temperatures and minimal breaks. The combination of these factors can have a detrimental impact on the health and well-being of the employees. In a 2016 report by Asia Floor Wage Alliance, serious health concerns were raised about the same H&M Supplier’s factory. Although the Cambodia-based, sustainability Continue Reading →

Article: “Depth of Child Trafficking to Thailand exposed in report”

A new report from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the Thailand Institute of Justice (TIJ) evidentiate the current prevalence of trafficking in persons from Cambodia, Lao and Myanmar to Thailand. The report found that for many Cambodians, migration to Thailand is necessary for basic survival. Others, especially children in remote or rural areas, are victims of kidnapping or other forms of coerced migration. Upon release of the report, the UNODC highlighted the sexual exploitation of children as an emerging trafficking issue for the Greater Mekong Subregion, along with several forms of labour trafficking. The report Continue Reading →

Article: “Cambodian Women Recount Escape from Slavery as ‘Brides’ in China”

This article tells the story of Cambodian women who migrate to China under false promises of better employment, but find themselves trafficked and trapped in forced marriages, sexual slavery and/or domestic servitude. A report by the United Nations found 85 Cambodian women who were repatriated in 2015 after escaping forced marriages in China. Mu Sochua, a Cambodian Member of Parliament and woman’s rights advocate, argues that the best way to tackle this problem, and human trafficking in general, is to improve socio-economic circumstances for women in Cambodia: “What we need is heavy investment in education and health. Unless you solve the Continue Reading →

Article: “Trafficking in Persons and Forced Labor: Southeast Asian Scenario”

July 30th is designated as “World Day against Trafficking in Persons (TIP),” a day dedicated to raising awareness of TIP around the world. This article analyzes the state of TIP in the Southeast Asian region, highlighting an increase in labour trafficking and exploitation, especially in the fishing, seafood and palm oil industries. The article calls for more focus on root causes of migratory patterns, or push/pull factors within destination and source countries. It also urges international organisations to use their resources to provide education and support throughout the region. It has been well established that a person’s socio-economic situation is Continue Reading →

Article: “Modern slavery and tourism: when holidays and human exploitation collide”

This article focuses on the links between the tourism supply chain and modern day slavery, links which are often overlooked by tourists, governments and the tourist industry as a whole. The article sheds light on orphanage tourism, defined as when tourists visit orphanages to donate money, goods or time by volunteering. Regardless of intentions, selecting to support or participate in orphanage tourism is irresponsible. In recent years, especially in Southeast Asia, children in orphanages have come to be treated as tourist attractions and commodities for the orphanages themselves. This increase in demand for visiting/volunteering at these orphanages means that orphanages Continue Reading →

ILO Report: “Closing gender gaps could add US$ 3.2 trillion to the Asia-Pacific economy”

The recent International Labour Organisation (ILO) report, “World Employment and Social Outlook – Trends for Women” found that East and South Asia are the only two regions in the world where gender gaps have increased over the past two decades. Especially in the Asia-Pacific region, women are less likely to participate in the labour market, less likely to find work, and more likely to work for jobs of lower quality and lower pay. The report shows that reducing such gender gaps could not only improve conditions for women, but add US$ 3.2 trillion to the Asia-Pacific economy. Free To Shine Continue Reading →

Article: “Children must be alert to human trafficking”

Weerawan Mosby, founder and director of children’s rights protection group “HUG Project” and winner of this year’s TIP Report Hero Acting to End Modern Slavery Award, spoke at a conference in Bangkok about the need to educate and protect children from human trafficking. Weerawan said she has seen more and more child victims of human trafficking and sexual exploitation in recent years. She stressed that efforts to rescue and support child victims of human trafficking is not enough to put a stop to such crimes. Weerawan advocated for a “defensive” or preventative approach, one that entails both educating at-risk children Continue Reading →

Article (Opinion): “Law makes a mockery of human rights”

In response to being placed on the Tier 2 Watch-list by the U.S. State Department’s 2017 Trafficking in Persons Report, the Thai government issued an emergency decree on migrant labour management. The decree included “harsh” penalties for the recruitment of undocumented workers, and for undocumented workers themselves. These new penalties have triggered fear and panic among both employers and migrant workers; in the days since the decree was issued more than 30,000 migrant workers, the majority from Cambodia, Myanmar and Laos, fled Thailand or were repatriated to their home countries. This opinion piece from the Bangkok Post questions the new Continue Reading →

2017 Trafficking In Persons Report

The 2017 Trafficking in Persons Report or TIP Report was released on the 27th of June by the U.S. State Department. The TIP report is released annually and categorizes governments based on their documented efforts to acknowledge and combat human trafficking. The report begins with an introduction to human trafficking from the US Secretary of State and reads:    “Human trafficking is one of the most tragic human rights issues of     our time. It splinters families, distorts global markets, undermines     the rule of law, and spurs other transnational criminal activity.     It threatens public safety and national security. Continue Reading →