Phnom Penh (Agenzia Fides) - Billboards at strategic points of the city, 4,000 booklets in English and Khmer on sex tourism, publishing the phone numbers dedicated to the protection of children, training for 50 managers of hotels and guest houses and 100 drivers of tuk tuk (typical of the area mostly used by tourists) on guidelines to combat sex tourism...These are just some of the tools to end the silence over a drama lived out by hundreds of street children, orphaned or responsible for supporting their family economically. Thanks to the organization "Intervita," already working in Cambodia to help child victims of sexual exploitation, a new program of awareness and information is now underway. In addition to strict local regulations, in fact, the most effective instrument in combatting this serious problem is the active involvement of tourists, local authorities, and the population. In 2010, in collaboration with ECPAT Cambodia, Intervita will raise awareness among 20% of international tourists visiting the country and 10% of Cambodians through a network of 100 drivers of tuk tuk, introducing into the Cambodian tourism industry a code of ethics against sexual exploitation, and strengthen the child protection tools that already exist in Cambodia, in particular the services of telephone "hotlines" to report cases of exploitation. Moreover, in the city of Battambang, Intervita maintains a reception and recovery center for child victims of human trafficking and street children at risk for exploitation. Here, a safe haven is offered to around 120 children between the ages of 5 and 18, who are offered care and living conditions appropriate to their growth and, when the family is a safe place to reintegrate the children, the beneficiaries project also seeks to economically support parents, as well. In Svay Rieng, the organization provides professional training to youth over 16 years at risk of sexual exploitation, helping them to find a job or start a small business.
(AP) (Agenzia Fides 04/26/2010)