It is up to everyone to protect children from harm, abuse and exploitation. Whether you are a parent, a local authority figure, a teacher or a neighbour, whether you work in the child protection sector in Cambodia or other sectors. If you see a child in danger, or suspect that a child is at risk of harm, there are things you can do. Don’t hold off until it’s too late. Speak up as soon as you see something wrong.
Many community-based organizations run positive parenting programmes and other programmes that help people understand the benefits of positive discipline. There are programmes that may help you change the way you speak to your children and the way you discipline them. Changing negative habits can prevent violence against children.
If you are experiencing abuse at home, at school or anywhere else, speak to someone you trust. It might be your teacher or school principal. If you can get to a telephone, call Friends International or the Child Helpline on 1280 and tell them what is happening to you. They will know how to help.
Not everyone has access to the Internet or organizations. If you live in a village and see that a family is at risk of separating, you can speak to the village chief. Commune committees for women and children can help too. They will know how to access the right services. If you do have Internet access, get in touch with Family Care First, 3PC or Friends International. If the situation is bad and you suspect violence, contact ChildSafe.
Sadly in Cambodia, many tourists abuse and exploit children. If you see something that looks suspicious, contact the local police or the ChildSafe hotline. Often, innocent tourists can unwittingly contribute to child exploitation by purchasing goods or using services offered by children. If you think that a business is employing underage children and stopping them from going to school, contact ChildSafe, a local organization, or call the police. They will check the child’s situation. Many children are just helping out their parents after school, but some may be exploited.