Safe Migration and Reduced Trafficking (SMART)
Cambodia experiences high rates of domestic and international migration. A 2008 census indicated that approximately 27% of the population had domestically migrated from rural to urban areas, with equal numbers of men and women. While 97% of all Cambodian migrants are domestic, 3% work internationally, especially in Thailand and Vietnam as well as South Korea and Malaysia.
Human mobility is not in itself synonymous with trafficking. In fact, migration can be a significant poverty alleviation strategy, however unsafe migration – including illegal migration, reliance on brokers, and indebtedness – greatly increases the risk of being trafficked. Research has found both unsafe migration and trafficking are widespread in Cambodia.
Contrary to common assumptions that poverty and lack of education are the main factors that put people at risk of unsafe migration and trafficking, United Nations Inter-Agency Project on Human Trafficking (UNIAP) research has identified the real risk factors as lack of knowledge and unrealistic expectations about the benefits of migration.
The Safe Migration and Reduced Trafficking project aims to promote safe migration in order to reduce the incidence of human trafficking (domestic and international) in Cambodia. The project strengthens capacities of civil society agencies and local authorities to prevent unsafe migration and trafficking and to empower at-risk groups to make informed decisions.
The project provides information to communities through local volunteers, empowering community members to make informed decisions about whether to migrate for work and ensuring they know where to access accurate information. Additionally, advocacy, networking and capacity building with key figures ensures they are aware of relevant laws and current issues.
Project activities include:
54 trained volunteers are promoting safe migration in each commune, teaching their communities awareness-raising skills and the realities of unsafe migration and trafficking, to assisting people in making informed choices.
Events for community members to share knowledge and experiences of migration, and learn from one another. This is estimated to reach 16,000 beneficiaries over the three-year project.
Mass media support of safe migration through spot broadcasting, televised round table discussions and policy dialogue.Networking: Regular participatory meetings with government institutions and civil society, as well as national and international fora.
Improving knowledge of relevant laws/regulations on migration and trafficking, case response, gender-based violence, psychosocial and gender issues among key figures, including:
Department of Labour staff
Monks, religious and high school teachers
Continual monitoring and evaluation with ministerial and civil society partners.
March 2012 – February 2015
Kampong Cham & Prey Veng provinces
Community members in two provinces – young women and girls, young men, and parents
Ministry of Interior
Ministry of Women’s Affairs
Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training
Cambodian Women for Peace and Development (CWPD)