Remarks by Sean Callahan, Deputy Mission Director, USAID Cambodia, at the Police Training for Anti-Human Trafficking

Wednesday, November 23, 2016
Sean Callahan, USAID Deputy Mission Director, presents Certificates of Completion to Police Trainees
Sean Callahan, USAID Deputy Mission Director, presents Certificates of Completion to the Police trainees.

(as prepared for delivery)


  • His Excellency Pol Phie They, Director of Anti-Human Trafficking and Juvenile Protection Department of the Cambodia National Police,
  • Police trainers and trainees,
  • Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen.

We consider human trafficking to be a global human rights challenge. It preys upon the vulnerable, breaks down rule of law, and corrupts global commerce. No challenge may be greater than the transnational crime of human trafficking which impacts millions of people worldwide each year including Cambodia.

That is why I am pleased to join you today for this important event. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Winrock International and International Justice Mission (IJM) for their work on this issue. I would also like to extend my gratitude to His Excellency Pol Phie They, who has been playing a leading role in Cambodia’s fight against human trafficking. Thank you, Your Excellency, for your outstanding efforts especially in the area of prosecution.

The United States government cares deeply about trafficking in persons because it affects not just individuals and their families, but also communities and entire countries, regardless of their location or level of economic development. We know from experience around the world that strong coordination among government, civil society, and the private sector is critical for ending human trafficking. The Royal Government of Cambodia shares our concern and the National Committee for Counter Trafficking has provided the leadership and coordination needed to make real progress against human trafficking.  

The U.S. government - through USAID and other agencies - is among the largest donors combating this scourge. Between 2001 and 2010, USAID spent $163 million in 68 countries to fight the trafficking of human beings. We support all four strategic pillars of counter-trafficking response: prevention, protection, prosecution, and partnership.  In Cambodia, USAID has supported the fight against human trafficking for more than a decade. In October 2015, we awarded the four-year Cambodia Countering Trafficking in Persons project to Winrock International. This projects aims to address the root causes of trafficking, protect and assist victims who have been trafficked, strengthen local governance structures to address these crimes, and increase the likelihood of prosecution.

It is this last element – prosecuting the traffickers – that brings us together today. Deterring trafficking through effective investigations and prosecutions is an important and necessary part of the overall solution. You have had an opportunity to learn interviewing techniques to get evidence from witnesses, victims, and suspects to file cases against human traffickers. I want to encourage all of you to take advantage of these skills to do your own important part to help eliminate human trafficking crimes.

In closing, I would like to recognize, once again, the important progress the Cambodian government and its partners have made to combat human trafficking of all kinds. As many of you may know, this year Cambodia was upgraded to Tier 2 on the Department of State Annual Trafficking-in-Persons Report, meaning that it is making significant efforts to be in compliance with minimum standards for combatting trafficking in persons. One of the critical factors contributing to this upgrade was the government’s increased efforts to prosecute perpetrators of human trafficking. I would also like to encourage the Royal Government of Cambodia, the NCCT, and the Cambodia National Police to consider including training on fighting human trafficking in the Cambodia National Police Academy curriculum. By including this training, Cambodian law enforcement officials can build fundamental skills from the beginning of their careers. We are committed to working closely with the government on this critical challenge in the months and years ahead.

Thank you very much.  

Phnom Penh
Issuing Country