Cambodia’s porous borders, poverty and geographic location render the country a major point of origin, destination and transit for irregular migrants. An increasing number of Cambodian irregular migrants are apprehended in neighbouring countries. Government operational and administrative capacity needs to be enhanced in the area of migration management. Responses include cross-border technical cooperation, capacity building with regard to bilateral and regional border checkpoints, preventing migration-related crime, awareness-raising on the risks of irregular migration and improving labour migration management.
Trafficking in persons remains an increasing concern in the country and surrounding region. New trends include women being subject to forced marriage abroad and the increasing number of male Cambodian victims indentified in forced labour trafficking situations within the regional fishing industry. As Cambodians continue to migrate abroad through irregular channels, risks to human trafficking and labour exploitation increase. Recent trends have shown that more and more Cambodian men are abused and exploited in the regional fishing industry, having been trafficked through neighbouring countries and ending up stranded further abroad. With the support of the international community, including IOM, the Government of Cambodia (GoC) has built a comprehensive legal and institutional framework to address trafficking in persons. However, much remains to be done to foster the effective enforcement of the provisions adopted, while a need for clarifying the roles and responsibilities of relevant government agencies involved in eliminating trafficking has been emphasized most recently. Cross-border cooperation with neighbouring countries, notably with Thailand and Vietnam, has also been indicated as a key area in need of improvement for prevention, protection, return of victims, and prosecution of perpetrators. While regional partnership and formal agreements have been developed, implementation of such agreements remains challenging on both sides of the border. Watch video: Trafficked to Sea: IOM Cambodia's Repatriation Programme
- Italian Development Cooperation
- Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM), US State Department
In response, IOM is providing technical assistance and coordinating programming through the National Committee to Counter Trafficking, including other important line ministries such as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and relevant consulates involved in the voluntary repatriation of victims, the Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation (MoSVY) on provision of victim assistance and reintegration support with an expanded focus on adult male victims of trafficking, given the lack of services available to this particular group. Through the project, direct assistance is provided to trafficking survivors upon return to Cambodia, including medical aid, food supplies and temporary accommodation. The provision of direct assistance is complemented by capacity building, such as training on victim identification, psychosocial support and case management to Government and NGO service providers. Learn more: Migrant Assistance and Protection in Cambodia
The health of trafficking survivors is a priority of the IOM Cambodia mission’s victim assistance. The recent collaborative research into the health consequences of trafficking between IOM and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine helped to explore the health risks, consequences and safety and service needs of people using post-trafficking services in the Mekong countries. Learn more: Health and Human Trafficking in the Greater Mekong Subregion
- Integrated Border Assistance for Sexually Abused Migrant Minors in Cambodia
- Addressing Migrant Vulnerabilities to Prevent Human Trafficking and Protect Victims, Particularly Children, in Targeted Special Economic Zones and Economic Corridors in Cambodia, Lao PDR and Viet Nam
- Addressing the Risks and Needs of Vulnerable Migrants in the Greater Mekong Subregion and Malaysia – Cambodian component Phase V
- Study on Trafficking, Exploitation, Abuse in the Mekong Sub region (STEAM), Thailand, Viet Nam and Cambodia
- Anti-Crime and Capacity Building Programme, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Government of Canada
In the area of technical cooperation, IOM provides support to strengthen Cambodia’s institutional capacity for effective migration management. In particular, IOM concentrates on enhancing national administrative and operational capacities to combat irregular migration, human smuggling and related cross-border crime. IOM promotes cross-border and interagency cooperation in the region, with particular reference to information exchange, building operational and administrative systems related to border management and law enforcement.
In particular, IOM provides capacity building training to frontline border control officers, who deal with millions of travellers and migrants to effectively detect and respond to cases of human smuggling including travel document examination.
- Strengthening National Capacity to Respond to Migrant Smuggling in Cambodia Phase I
- Strengthening Border Security to Prevent Migrant Smuggling & Related Crimes in Cambodia Phase II
- IOM Development Fund (IDF)
- US Department of State, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor
In the area of labour migration, IOM focuses on building Cambodia’s administrative and operational capacity, particularly in improving the effectiveness of regular migration procedures and the protection of migrant workers. IOM also aims to increase regular labour migration options, provide assistance in securing opportunities for Cambodia’s skilled and semi-skilled migrants and raising awareness on safe labour migration through targeted information campaigns and establishment of migrant resource services. IOM aims to support the RGC to enhance management of outward labour migration flows to neighboring countries, particularly Thailand and Malaysia, with an emphasis on reducing the instances of abuse through the effective implementation of recently adopted ministerial regulations; facilitating prospective and returned migrants’ access to updated and reliable information; and improving migrants’ access to recourse and compensation mechanisms.
- Enhancing the Protection of Vulnerable Migrant Workers in the Lower Mekong Region through Awareness of their Rights and Improved Safe Migration Channels
- Building the Capacity of Cambodia to Manage Outward Migration (BECOME)
- Stop TB Partnership TB REACH – Financing Facility for Innovative TB Case Detection
- Western Pacific Regional Office WPRO and World Health Organization (WHO)
- IOM Development Fund
Migration Health Assessment and Travel Health Assistance Programme. IOM Migration Health Services provide medical evaluations for and documentation of prospective migrants and refugees being resettled in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. The programme investigates, diagnoses and screens migrants for any infectious and chronic or acute diseases, making appropriate referrals, as needed. Since Cambodia has a high prevalence of tuberculosis (TB), particular attention is placed on identifying this condition during health assessments.
- Migrant Health Assessment and Travel Health Assistance Program
Health Promotion and Assistance for Migrants. IOM is committed to enhancing the capacity of the Cambodian government to understand and appropriately meet the health needs of vulnerable migrants and mobile populations, with a particular focus on cross-border migration and communicable disease control. Along the Cambodian borders with Thailand and Vietnam, IOM aims to enhance the capacity of the government and local partners to respond to the health needs of vulnerable migrants and mobile populations. The recent TB REACH initiative to increase early detection and treatment of TB among irregular migrants returning from Thailand is an important first step in the development of migrant-sensitive health services in the border provinces and is key to mainstreaming active case finding among high-risk groups within the National TB program. Learn more: Increasing Active TB Case Detection for Returned Irregular Migrants at Poi Pet Border | Watch video: Cambodia: Detecting, Treating TB in Vulnerable Migrants
- Increasing Active Case Detection among Irregular Migrants at Poipet Border, Cambodia
- Strengthening Migrant Health Structures and Services in Selected Border Provinces in Cambodia
- United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF)
- Australia Government
- Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC)
- Spanish Agency for International Cooperation and Development (AECID)
IOM also provides assistance in humanitarian emergencies and capacity building with regard to disaster risk reduction. Watch video: Cambodia: IOM Emergency Response to Floods
IOM responds to situations where migrant are in crisis. In particular, IOM responded with transport and medical care in the recent mass return of over 250,000 Cambodians from Thailand to the Cambodian borders. IOM Cambodia coordinated with local authorities and NGOs to provide adequate food, water, health care and safe transportation to migrants to safely return to their home provinces, particularly for the most vulnerable migrants such as women and children. Learn more: Emergency Response for Cambodian Migrants Returning from Thailand | Assessment of Returned Cambodian Migrants
- Rapid Humanitarian Assistance to Flood Displaced Households in Cambodia
- Strengthening reintegration support for Cambodian Migrants Returned from Thailand
- Building Resilience to Natural Hazards in North-East Cambodia
- IOM Development Fund
Cambodia is considered one of the most hazard-prone countries in South-East Asia. The country, characterized by a tropical monsoon climate, has observed important climate changes as an increase in mean temperature, alterations in the timing and duration of the seasons, an increase in frequency and intensity of extreme weather events and the sea level rise. In particular, floods and droughts are the cause of hundred deaths and of major agricultural crop losses.
IOM is supporting the Royal Government of Cambodia’s initiative to respond to the growing threat of climate change through the integration of the issue in the national agenda. IOM aims to enhance awareness and knowledge of Cambodian policymakers on the link between climate change, environment and migration. Watch video: Rising Above Natural Disasters: My Village's Story
- Assessing Vulnerabilities and Responses to Environmental Changes in Cambodia
The IOM office in Phnom Penh is the designated Canadian Visa Application Centre (CANVAC) visa application submission site on behalf of the Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC). IOM staffs assist applicants by verifying that application forms and all necessary documentation are complete and present before forwarding the application to the Embassy or Consulate for processing.
Incomplete or improperly completed applications may cause unnecessary processing delays, therefore IOM’s experienced visa application counselors assist migrants to submit application as per Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) guidelines. Counselors advise applicants of all procedures and requirements, fill-in and print out all required CIC application forms, facilitate assembling of all required supporting documentation, and submit the completed application to the relevant Canadian visa processing post.
IOM aims to assist migrants before, during and after their travel. To do so, IOM provides travel assistance such as flight bookings, and assists migrants at the airport with all Cambodia exit formalities, facilitates group travel for Cambodians traveling for resettlement, and notifies sponsors at the destination of all travel details in advance. Learn more: Travel and Visa Application Support Services for Migrants
Main text: August 2015
Facts and figures: August 2015