Human Trafficking in Cambodia
By Chenda Keo
Routledge – 2013 – 220 pages
Reporting the findings of a comprehensive study of human trafficking in Cambodia, this book focuses on the characteristics and operations of the traffickers. It provides a theoretical framework that explains the emergence of the phenomenon, and the role of moral panic and western hegemony in the war on human trafficking.
Using a multi-method and multi-source research design, which includes an examination of police and prison records as well as interviews with 91 incarcerated human traffickers, police and prison officers, court officials, and members of NGOs, this book investigates five major themes about human traffickers in Cambodia: who are they, how do they operate, how much profit do they make, why are they involved in human trafficking, and how does the Cambodian Criminal Justice System (CJS) control their activities?
A novel and unique analysis, this book is of interest to a wide academic audience in the fields of Asian Studies, Human Trafficking, Sociology, Anthropology, Political Science, Human Geography and Critical Legal Studies.
"This groundbreaking book is a major contribution to our understanding of human trafficking and migration in Cambodia. Drawing from his interviews with a huge sample of participants, including incarcerated traffickers, Chenda Keo is in a unique position to assess popular international claims regarding trafficking. He demonstrates that anti-trafficking campaigns can do more harm than good to the people they purport to help."
Ronald Weitzer, George Washington University, USA
"The most comprehensive and in-depth study to date on sex trafficking in Cambodia that serves as a model for future research efforts in developing countries, particularly in the Greater Mekong Sub-region. Backed by rich first-hand data, the book details a culturally nuanced analysis that challenges the mainstream narrative on sex traffickers and the sex industry in Cambodia. Amidst the sensational assertions and hysterical calls for action made by Western governments, international organizations, and advocacy groups, Chenda Keo exposes the hegemonic nature of Western political and cultural practices about sexual morality, raise fundamental doubts about sex trafficking in Cambodia, and point to the unintended consequences of the anti-trafficking movement, funded and championed by foreign government agencies, NGOS, and the rescue industry."
Sheldon Zhang, San Diego State University, USA
"In this fascinating book, Chenda Keo probes into the world of sex traffickers in Cambodia and shatters many popular claims about them. The work is original and brave, and it is a must-read for anyone interested in the reality of sex trafficking."
Ko-lin Chin, Rutgers School of Criminal Justice, USA
1. Introduction 2. Human trafficking: Assumptions, Claims, and Evidence 3. Slavery, Prostitution, and Human Trafficking in Cambodia: History and Contexts 4. The Socio-political construction of human trafficking 5. Responses to human trafficking 6. Prevalence of illegal migrations, prostitution, and human trafficking in Cambodia 7. The Cambodian criminal justice system 8. Finding and talking to traffickers 9. Human traffickers in Cambodia 10. Why do they do it and do they make much money? 11. The role of the Cambodian criminal justice system 12. The road to hell is paved with good intention
Chenda Keo is an Advisor to the Cambodia’s Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans, and Youth Rehabilitation. He received his PhD from the Australian National University.