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Combating Forced Labor Slavery

Labor trafficking in Southeast Asia and reports of slavery in supply chains are making international headlines. Impoverished migrant workers are particularly vulnerable in a variety of industries, like fishing, domestic servitude, and child begging.

At the heart of the region, Cambodia is a source, transit and destination for forced labor slavery.

After more than a decade of successfully working alongside Cambodian authorities to combat child sex trafficking, IJM launched a new project in 2016 to combat forced labor slavery. The team has supported cases involving victims trafficked to China as brides and factory workers, women trafficked to Malaysia as maids, and men trafficked to Thailand's fishing industry.

The progress made so far in Cambodia shows that justice for the poor
is possible when you invest in improving public justice systems.


We rescue victims by partnering with authorities to identify and remove children or adults being exploited within Cambodia or trafficked across international borders.


We bring criminals to justice by pursuing cases against traffickers, slave holders and other criminals involved in recruiting, harboring or selling children, women and men into forced labor slavery.


We restore survivors by developing customized aftercare plans for clients and partnering with organizations in Cambodia that provide trauma counseling, safe shelter and vocational training or education.


We strengthen justice systems by leading anti-trafficking workshops for government officials and civil society organizations in provinces spanning the country. We will help develop nationwide police training curriculum so that all Cambodian law enforcement are equipped with the training and resources they need to combat labor trafficking.

IJM is a partner on a large USAID Counter Trafficking in Persons grant, managed by Winrock International.

Our Progress

“Over the last 12 years, we have seen the impossible happen. Hundreds have been rescued. Hundreds of traffickers and abusers have been held accountable for their crimes in local courts. Passionate government officials are working hard, and their consistent action has led to an astounding decrease in the number of minors being bought and sold.”

Christa Hayden Sharpe Former IJM Cambodia Field Office Director

IJM’s Aftercare Department has trained police in victim/witness interviewing and child-friendly practices, significantly improving police ability to build rapport with children and to obtain truthful testimony in police interviews. Since 2004, we have partnered with local authorities to rescue 500 victims of trafficking and have secured the convictions of 193 trafficking perpetrators.

A 2013 study found that the prevalence of children being sold in establishments in Sihanoukville, Siem Reap, and Phnom Penh dropped dramatically over the past decade of IJM’s work. Estimates of the prevalence of minors in the sex trade were high as 15–30%, with many believed to be ages 15 and under. Today, the rate of minors 15 and under is down to only 0.1%.

Our Team in Cambodia

Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Field Office Director: Peter Williams
Established: 2004
Focus: Forced Labor Slavery

download the fact sheet
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