Since its formal establishment on 2nd July 2002, LSCW has provided prevention strategies, advocacy, legal advice and support for victims of domestic violence, rape, labour and sexual exploitation. We organize workshops for those most vulnerable to trafficking and violence to promote and emphasize their rights.
LSCW strives to combat the voice between legislation and implementation against trafficking, domestic violence, rape, labour and sexual exploitation to protect Cambodian women, children and men from its main office in Phnom Penh and the provincial office in Kampot.
LSCW has been providing free legal advice, support and representation to women and child victims of rape, physical and sexual abuse, domestic violence, and to women in connection with divorce proceedings since 2002. The team recognizes the many difficulties and challenges faced by female victims of violence, such as lack of awareness of their rights, financial constraints, family and community pressures, stigmatization and discrimination by others. Accordingly, the team implements gender-responsive practices in handling its cases and advocates for increased gender sensitivity within the legal system.
The Legal Aid team has been based in Phnom Penh with satellite offices in Prey Veng, Kampot and Koh Kong. A mobile team from Phnom Penh has also been providing legal services in the following provinces: Kandal, Kampong Cham, Kampong Speu, Takeo, Kampong Thom and Svay Rieng. LSCW provides the following legal services to children and women free of charge for both criminal and civil cases:
- Legal court representation, including research, investigation and preparation of cases to bring for prosecution
- General legal consulting and assistance
- Legal awareness-raising throughout the country, using published resources about international and domestic law
- Support service referral when required
- Referrals to appropriate shelters for victims of domestic violence and human trafficking
LSCW provides the following services to government authorities, international organizations, and NGOs:
- Legal training to local authorities about relevant laws, implementation and methods for supporting victims
- Research and analysis on the rights of children and women
- Recommendations to government officials and stakeholders
- Networking opportunities for relevant ministries, international organizations and NGOs
HUMAN TRAFFICKING AND MIGRATION
Since 2003, LSCW has become a specialist in trafficking and unsafe migration cases in Cambodia. Much of LSCW’s work in relation to human trafficking is focused on two areas: first, building the capacity of returnee migrants, law enforcers and civil society to counter human trafficking and to respond effectively to victims of trafficking; and secondly, raising awareness among at-risk communities of the dangers of trafficking and the methods of legal and safe migration. Legal aid provision is also available to returnee migrants and LSCW is working with Ministry of Interior, the International Organization of Migration and UN ACT to develop specialised legal representation for returning migrants who have been victims of labour exploitation whilst working in a foreign country.
In terms of capacity-building with returnee migrants, LSCW has been running Cambodia Female Migrant Networks (CFMNs) in Prey Veng and Kampong provinces since 2012. CFMNs are led by and have a membership from individuals in the community. They advocate on issues relating to the rights of migrants, providing protection against exploitation and empowering women within the community.
See CTIP II for information on our current counter-trafficking program.
Part of LSCW’s work involves advocating for changes on a national level in terms of the implementation of domestic laws, the ratification of international laws, and legislative change where gaps exist. Currently LSCW is focusing its advocacy efforts on policy and legislative change to protect the rights of migrant workers. The project, which started in January 2011, has two main objectives:
- To effectively advocate, lobby and build the capacity of relevant stakeholders at the national, regional and international levels to ratify and implement international conventions that protect the rights of domestic workers, and trafficking victims. Special attention has been given to ILO Convention 189 concerning decent work for domestic workers, a review mechanism under the Palermo Protocol, and the UN Convention on the Protection of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families
- To increase awareness among the general public and relevant stakeholders of issues relating to the human and labour rights of trafficking vicitms and migrant workers, especially domestic workers
At the national, regional and international levels, LSCW has advocated and lobbied for the rights of domestic workers, migrant workers and trafficking victims, including for the adoption of the proposed Convention on Domestic Work and a Palermo Protocol review mechanism. Since 2011, LSCW has been the secretariat for the Cambodian Working Group for Domestic Workers (CWGDW). This working group has been lobbying government to sign the ILO Convention 189 which allows legal provisions for decent work for domestic workers who currently fall outside of the Cambodian Labour Law (1997).
See our report on Domestic Workers and their Rights under Sub-Decree 190.
FM 102 MHZ broadcasts discussions to raise awareness relating to current events and changes in Cambodian Law. It tackles a variety of issues which LSCW has been involved in, helping spread awareness relating to domestic workers and their rights. During the radio show women domestic workers, women migrant workers, and former domestic workers had the opportunity to participate in the call-in show program to raise their concern with duty bearers. Below are three radio shows that detail advice, concerns and challenges domestic workers face.
In 2005, a large capacity-building and training programme was established for young lawyers and legal assistants based in Phnom Penh, Kampong Cham, Prey Veng and Koh Kong. The training was to ensure that the mobile and satellite legal teams were able to provide a professional service to victims of human trafficking, domestic violence, rape and other abuses. Since then, LSCW legal aid team has represented over 2,000 cases in nine target provinces such as Kampot, Kampong Cham, Kampong Speu, Kampong Thom, Kandal, Koh Kong, Prey Veng, Takeo and Phnom Penh at the Cambodian court of Justice.
In 2008, LSCW undertook a training project, supported by the Asia Foundation, to provide training on human trafficking to government officials and NGO staff at a provincial level. The project was undertaken in Svay Rieng province and, because of its success, a similar project is underway in Siem Reap province. LSCW is currently working with the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training to provide capacity-building for agencies that recruit Cambodians for work abroad.