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Phnom Penh (Ah!) - Faces & Places - July 2004

IOM Project Coordinator John McGeoghan and assistant Tha Saravuth tackle human trafficking - NR photo

IOM team - NR photo

Ministry of Women's Affairs project manager Auv Rany - NR photo

Films producer Teng Dy - NR photo

Children listen intently to question regarding trafficking film and comedy skit. - NR photo

IOM anti human trafficking film subtitle sends a message to viewers - NR photo

IOM comedy troupe features Mr. Fuso (left) a well known Cambodian comedian - NR photo

 

 

James Loving/National Radio Text Service

 

IOM Tackles Human Trafficking - Young Cambodian girls being lied to or enticed by boyfriends or friends of the family into prostitution under the guise of getting a job in a garment factory or as a waitress.

 

Friday July 23, 2004

IOM TACKLES HUMAN TRAFFICKING

HUMAN TRAFFICKING: "You sell someone against their will to do something they don't want to do. Trafficking is slavery in a nutshell (i.e.) prostitution or labor," said John McGeoghan IOM project coordinator Cambodia.

Human trafficking is a major problem in Asia. To help counter its growth in Cambodia IOM (International Organization for Migration) has put together two films and live comedy presentation to tour 18 Cambodian provinces to enlighten Khmers about the subject and what to look out for.

IOM will present 90 shows over a nine-month period. The project supported by USAID (United States Agency for International Development) and the Cambodian Ministry of Women's Affairs embarked on its mission last week. Five shows are planned for each province.

The films depict young Cambodian girls being lied to or enticed by boyfriends or friends of the family into prostitution under the guise of getting a job in a garment factory or as a waitress. The girls go with parental approval only to be tricked and sold into the flesh industry.

For this type of film the films producer Teng Dy does an excellent job. The photography is exceptional. Both films have English subtitles. Dy has previous experience working on UN projects.

A five-member comedy troupe featuring Mr. Fuso, a well-known Cambodian comedian, is also touring with the show performing skits about trafficking and problems of debt after each of the films are shown. The comedians interact with the audience stimulating their attention. Why comedy?

It's not a funny subject but IOM project coordinator John McGeoghan feels the dark subject will retain the interest of the audience, be accepted and more memorable and get the message across if presented in a live comedy format.

"Comedy performances prove to get the message across more." he said.

During a test performance in Takhmau the comedians interacted with the audience and stimulated their attention. After the films and comedy skits the audience is invited on stage for a quiz on the films and comedy skits. If they get the right answers they win a T-shirt and a hat. If they don't give the correct answer they receive a hat for participating.

The ideas for the content of the show came together after IOM interviewed 2800 females from 300 villages in six provinces regarding human trafficking. From that information the IOM team then conceived the audience interaction plan that varied the pace of the show.

Before the show the audience is informed the quiz will take place and prizes will be given out. McGeoghan explained the rationale for the quiz.

"To check the learning of the participants," he noted.

IOM plans to follow up researching the audience learning process by returning to the provinces and asking questions to the residents regarding the show. IOM will be looking for positive results from their efforts in producing the program.

"What we're looking for is a change of attitude against trafficking and subsequently a change of behavior," said McGeoghan. "Why? People will think before trafficking their own children

The target audience is 15-25 that is felt to be to main risk group. There is also a plan in the future to visit schools and make the 7-11 year old age group more aware of trafficking.

McGeoghan went on to explain how poor people in the provinces are subject to abject poverty. As an example he noted that some people in rural villages live under a tree without cover from the elements.

He also said, "Girls are seen as the providers of the family, boys are not."

Due to family debts including gambling, often results into a 13 year old daughter being sold into domestic servitude for as little as $100 for a two year period. Girls may work as a maid or waitress. In many cases they are mistreated.

"Girls won't run away because they know they have to go back to their family," McGeoghan said.

McGeoghan explained how a cycle of poverty could be created. People may have a small piece of land. It's enough land for them to grow a sufficient amount of food to maintain them. They then go into debut. They may then sell their only pig. That may follow by them selling their only cow. When those possessions are gone they resort to selling their daughter.

Another poverty situation is a person may sell their land to buy a motorcycle. They then have a hard time affording gas. When the motorcycle needs repair they can't afford to pay. They then sell their motorcycle for half of what they paid for it.

After a sixty day run the show will take a break and then visit six more provinces before the end of the year. Another six provinces will be visited during the first quarter of 2005.

Related story: A Wounded Life

DOUBLE DEALING?

If surviving in the restaurant/bar business in Cambodia for a foreigner wasn't tough enough check this out.

A Khmer restaurant/guesthouse owner was friendly with a foreigner who eventually invested in a bar/restaurant on his property. A great deal of expense was made to improve the site.

After spending a great deal of money on advertising and a grand opening the owner presented the new restaurant owner/friend (?) a water bill for $300 and said their customers aren't allowed to use his toilets

In Cambodia $300 worth of water can fill the Pacific Ocean (just joking but you get the picture).

© Copyright: National Radio. Any use of these materials, whole or in part, is prohibited unless authorized in writing by National Radio. Contact: nationalradio@yahoo.com

 

 

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