2,760 Foreign Workers Found in Sihanoukville Raids

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Sihanoukville’s Kaibo compound on August 6, 2022. Shown these photos, Bao confirmed he was held in these compounds. (Michael Dickison/VOD)
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Sihanoukville authorities have fielded 420 human trafficking complaints in 51 days, leading to 1,605 foreign nationals being marked for deportation, according to an official report.

A statement issued by the National Committee for Counter Trafficking on Saturday said that between August 18 and October 4, authorities raided 10 locations in Sihanoukville based on trafficking victims’ 420 complaints, 229 of them related to kidnapping, torture, prostitution and illegal gambling, and found 2,760 foreign workers.

Some 1,946 of the foreign nationals had passports, though 1,512 did not have work permits and were fined before being allowed to leave company premises, it said.

In addition, 1,605 foreign nationals faced deportations as a result of the raids: Preparations are complete for 685 of the foreigners from 10 countries, while 920 others of 23 nationalities are still being processed, the statement said.

The recent raids follow months of reports of trafficking, forced labor, detention and violence at scam operations across the country.

Preah Sihanouk provincial governor Kuoch Chamroeun on Saturday reiterated the authorities’ targeting of human trafficking, while the provincial administration on Sunday issued guidelines for casinos, hotels and other premises saying they must have clear signage and documentation for their foreign workers.

Meanwhile, the military police said it had arrested eight suspects over alleged detention and extortion totaling around $100,000 from a condominium in Phnom Penh’s Meanchey district. The suspects smashed their car into an officer during the arrest, causing leg injuries, but surrendered after military police fired at them, it said. It did not give further details of the detention and extortion.

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