Remarks by Makara Ou, USAID/Cambodia Governance and Rule of Law Team Leader, Closing Ceremony of TOT on Soft Skill Training

Wednesday, February 28, 2018
Closing Ceremony of TOT on Soft Skill Training

(as prepared for delivery)


  • Her Excellency, Soeur Socheata, Undersecretary of State, Ministry of Education, Youths and Sports
  • Sara Piazzanno, Director of Winrock International
  • Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen

Thank you or inviting me to this Closing Ceremony of Training of Trainers on Soft Skill Training. This event is a special change to advance the fight against human trafficking. I would like to thank Winrock International and BBC Media Action for their hard work on this important effort. We can be proud of the work that we do in the areas of prevention, protection, and prosecution of this pressing transnational crime. 

Under USAID’s Cambodia Countering Trafficking in Persons Program, Winrock International partnered with BBC Media Action to develop a program and to provide Training-of-Trainers workshops on soft skills development. The program improves the skills of workers with limited education so they can more successfully access the job market, better identify employment options, improve their communication skills, and build their confidence. This is an important part of our larger effort at countering human trafficking.

Human trafficking is a global human rights challenge. It preys upon the vulnerable, breaks down the rule of law, and corrupts global commerce. There may be no challenge greater than the transnational crime of human trafficking that impacts millions of people worldwide each year including Cambodia.

The United States government cares deeply about countering 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 to halting human trafficking. The Royal Government of Cambodia shares our concern and the National Committee for Counter Trafficking has provided the leadership and coordination needed for real progress against human trafficking. We want to especially thank the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport for their extraordinary efforts in this soft skills training.

The U.S. government - through USAID and other agencies - is among the largest donors combating trafficking-in-persons. Between 2001 and 2010, USAID spent $163 million in 68 countries to fight the trafficking of human beings. Between 2002 and present, USAID/Cambodia spent almost $20 million to fight against human trafficking in Cambodia. We support all four strategic pillars of counter-trafficking response: prevention, protection, prosecution, and partnership. In October 2015, we awarded the four-year Cambodia Countering Trafficking in Persons project to Winrock International. This project aims to address the root causes of trafficking. It helps protect and assist victims who have been trafficked, strengthens local governance structures to address these crimes, and increases the likelihood of prosecution. We are hopeful that a better life at home will prevent them from moving great distances and into dangerous situations to provide for their families.

Fighting human trafficking is not only about prosecuting perpetrators, but also about preventing vulnerable people from becoming victims. Making sure that potential victims are equipped with skills and provided employment opportunities is the best way to prevent them risking unsafe migration that could lead to a life of indentured servitude or even slavery. For example, we support the innovative Bong Pheak platform in collaboration with the Open Institute. Bong Pheak is the first online job seeker service platform in Cambodia for low-skilled and unskilled workers such as those employed in construction, factories, hospitality, and security. It helps workers find safe employment within Cambodia rather than seek employment abroad through illegal and unsafe means.

In closing, I want to recognize 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 continues to remain on 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. We are committed to working closely with the government on this critical challenge in the months and years ahead.  Our hope is that one day, when Cambodians migrate for better jobs, they can do so safely and legally, and work and live in dignity without fear of being trafficked.

Thank you very much. 

Phnom Penh
Issuing Country 

Last updated: December 14, 2018

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