The Governor of Sihanoukville, Cambodia, has promised to take action against the owners of any hotels and casinos in the province found to be using forced labor amid concerns over human trafficking and sexual exploitation.
In a statement issued earlier this week, Governor Kuoch Chamroeun outlined a series of laws the province was focused on, noting such actions are punishable crimes that have “serious aggravating circumstances because they are detrimental to humanity.”
Those laws include prohibitions on forced or compulsory work, the hiring of people to work to reduce debts, the reduction of wages to ensure employment via agreements with employment agencies and detaining people against their will. They also include a law promising punishment for the removal of persons for the purpose of sexual exploitation, producing pornographic images, marriage against the victim’s will or illegal adoption of a child.
The statement follows recent reports by The Khmer Times around a hotel and casino in Sihanoukville known as the China Project. The property was recently raided by local police, resulting in 14 Chinese nationals being arrested and two of their countrymen being freed from unwilling detention. It has been alleged that the China Project is involved in online gambling operations, which was banned by Cambodia in January 2020, plus extortion, exploitation and human trafficking for sex and other illegal activities.
Governor Chamroeun said this week that Sihanoukville would take “administrative and legal action” against the owners of any hotels or casinos found to be involved in such activities. It would also “take action to temporarily label the business location and build a case to be sent to court to punish the person involved in accordance with the law in force and request the Royal Government to cancel the business license permanently.”