Innovative and sustainable Working with the least-served people Empowering target-group

Human trafficking is a global problem that is happening everywhere around the world, especially in South and South-East Asia. These regions are considered as core areas for human trafficking. In South Asia, 85 per cent of detected victims were trafficked for forced labour, and among these as many as 40 per cent were children. Local anti-human trafficking initiatives are mainly focusing on awareness raising on prevention of human trafficking, rather than on the root causes behind human trafficking. Hence, it is needed to learn and analyse from the local perspective of human trafficking in order to address the root causes efficiently.

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Education is of utmost importance for the development of a society and of human resources. Education is also an essential human right, and the level and impact of education is in many ways determining the future and possibilities for a child. During the last 25 years the educational system in Cambodia has been re-built, after total destruction during the Pol Pot regime in the 1970s. Besides the regular school structure, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport is also promoting pre-schools, in order for children to get a good start on their learning and education.

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Among the indigenous Tampuan people there exist a valuable norm of caring and providing for each other. This is especially seen in the Tampuan village called Kamen in Ratanakiri province, who is very active in their own community development via their Village Development Committee (VDC). Not only are villagers taking initiatives to improve their livelihood and deal with local challenges through various groups and committees, they have also created a special committee called the Joint Task Committee. The purpose of this committee is to generate income for the village and its villagers, and it is done by growing cashew trees on two hectares of land, allocated to the Joint Task Committee.

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Violence and abuse against children exist in every country in the world, across culture, class, education, income and ethnic origin. Cambodia is no exception. More than half of all Cambodian children reported some form of physical violence; one-quarter of Cambodian children are emotionally abused while growing up. About 5% of both females and males aged 13 to 24, reported some form of sexual abuse prior to age 18. Action is needed, and it is encouraging to see that groups of local people in local communities are stepping up for child protection. The power of a united people, who share a common passion for child protection, cannot be ignored. An example of such people working in unity is the Child Protection Committee (CPC), where children, youth, parents and religious leaders come together working to combat child abuse and neglect.

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ICC is not only serving Cambodians and local communities in order for them to escape poverty, but is also working towards improving their quality of life. Conventions and laws in Cambodia form the framework for bringing quality to people's lives through rights and justice. But this is not enough. Cambodians themselves need to contribute too by applying core values and norms, which will shape culture in Cambodia. Some of the values ICC likes to see included in the Cambodia culture are love, care and togetherness. In some of ICC's target communities villagers are now practicing this within their village and to neighbouring villages.

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30 million jobs are required every year for new entrants to the labour market to keep up with the growth of the global working age population, according to the United Nations. This is felt in Cambodia too, and a high number of young people seek to migrate for work. One young man from the target area of ICC Trafficking Response project in Preah Sdach district was almost cheated into illegal migration, due to his dream of improving his family's living standards.

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A group of regular rice-farmers in Svay Rieng province feel proud of themselves, because they have just completed the process of planning and setting up their own Agriculture Cooperative, based on regulations set by the government. The Agriculture Cooperative is now a reality, which will benefit farmers in various ways, and at the same time give status to the farmers. As the group of farmers expresses: "An Agriculture Cooperative is the legal framework for farmers in Cambodia, which give us confidence in our profession, and at the same time we are being recognised by the government".

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