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Thesis title:
THE NGO’S ROLES IN COMBATTING WOMEN TRAFFICKING BETWEEN THAILAND AND CAMBODIA

Author:
Mr. Pong Pheakdey Boramy

Thesis Advisor:
Professor Dr. Supang Chantavanich

MA in Southeast Asian Studies, Chulalongkorn University, 2008

Keywords:
WOMEN TRAFFICKING / DOCUMENTED AND UNDOCUMENTED MIGRANT WORKERS / INTERSECTIONALITY / SEX WORK

Abstract:
Human trafficking in general and women trafficking in particular is a major concern worldwide including Cambodia. Many non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Cambodia have played an active role in supporting women anti-trafficking programs. Many causes of trafficking have been found and addressed such as the poverty, the low education, gender inequality, corruption, the complex recruitment procedures, and the lack of effective monitoring or law enforcement. Despite many successes, there remain numerous constraints for NGOs in implementing most of the programs effectively. With this reason, many reports still claim that trafficking is still increasing. Therefore, this study is aimed to investigate the roles and the challenges of the NGOs in combating women trafficking from Cambodia to Thailand. This research chooses 10 Cambodian NGOs and employs both primary and secondary data related to this case. Primary data includes structured and unstructured interview with NGOs program managers and staffs who are actively involved in implementing women anti-trafficking programs. Secondary data includes published books, reports, and materials from the government and NGOs.

This study found that the unsuccessful role of NGOs in combating against women trafficking is caused by three factors. First, there is no common definition of trafficking using among Cambodian NGOs. Such different usage can not help identify the real victims but create the tension among NGOs. For instance, while some NGOs consider prostitution as trafficking and criminalize it, others deem it as the right of self-determination and support it. Second, the statistics of trafficking is still patchy and somehow unreliable. Usually, each NGO counts the cases they receive and draw the conclusion that trafficking is increasing or decreasing. To do this, it not only affects the real magnitude of trafficking, but also real situation of the trafficking victims, and some effective programs. Thirdly, the limited fund constrains the activities of the NGOs. Many NGOs conduct their work in the very limited target places with the staffs that need more training. Furthermore, fund also reflect the tension between those who receive the fund to support the idea that prostitution is the root cause of trafficking and those who receive the fund to support the right of voluntary sex workers.  To conclude, it is believed if there is common definition, it can help smooth the coordination and lead to the same understanding to tackle the trafficking. Moreover, it not only can help get rid of the overlapped data but more specific to the real situation of the trafficking, the victims, and the traffickers, but also help reduce the expenditure to any programs that are not effective.