Ethics and Human Rights in Anti-Human Trafficking:
Victim Service Provision and the Media
Anti-trafficking officials including police, social workers, NGOs, and local media from throughout Cambodia developed critical skills and knowledge in ethical approaches to addressing human trafficking, at a workshop held in the Cambodian capital, Phnom Penh.
The participants discussed ethical principles to be used when interviewing victims of human trafficking and designing anti-trafficking initiatives, and the role of the media in effectively promoting anti-human trafficking initiatives.
“Media and service providers play a important role in supporting and protecting victims of trafficking. To achieve better outcomes for victims, the media and NGOs need to have a common understanding of the issue,” said Ms. Savborey Ouk, radio Free Asia Reporter.
The workshop was part of the “Ethics and Human Rights in Anti-Human Trafficking” training programme, organized in the framework of Cambodia’s action plan under the Coordinated Mekong Ministerial Initiative against Trafficking (COMMIT). COMMIT is a government-led process of the Mekong countries - Cambodia, China, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam - designed to address human trafficking from a regional perspective. COMMIT is supported by the United Nations Inter-Agency Project on Human Trafficking (UNIAP), which acts as its Secretariat.
“Several key recommendations in ethical and human rights were raised during the training. These are very useful guides as they ensure we act ethically when interacting with victims and their family. Moreover, I will share the knowledge and experience gained from this training with my colleagues at the Poi Pet Transit center,” said Mrs. Chhea Manith, Director of Poi Pet Transit Center.
“The Cambodian media has played a very positive and significant role in raising awareness and action on new and emerging trafficking patterns, such as trafficking of men onto fishing boats and trafficking of women into domestic servitude overseas. However, sometimes this has been done in a way that brings harm or discomfort to the victim, or sometimes even puts them at risk – and it doesn’t need to be this way to get a compelling story,” said Dr. Lisa Rende Taylor, Chief Technical Specialist of UNIAP.
To help ensure human trafficking cases are investigated and reported ethically, the victim service providers generated a checklist of recommended guiding principles for media engagement with trafficking victims and their families, including a list of ‘Do’s and Don’ts’. This checklist will be distributed to the anti-trafficking community and media outlets throughout Cambodia.