Child Helpline Cambodia provides 24-hour confidential counselling for all children and proves an important source of support for children on the move.
In the Greater Mekong region of Cambodia, children migrate for a variety of reasons, including to escape conflict and natural disasters and to search for better opportunities for themselves and their families. In some cases, children are also victims of trafficking or end up abused and exploited either during their migration or upon reaching a destination. Getting the right advice at the right time and having access to counselling and protection services is crucial for these children.
Child Helpline Cambodia (CHC), which is supported by Terre des Hommes (Netherlands), is a professional and widely accessible counselling service, providing 24-hour free access to confidential counselling for children nationwide. CHC works in partnership with many government agencies at national and local levels as well as with civil society organisations. Children on the move often call in to ask for information, help, and advice on challenges they are facing. Parents, family and members of the community also call CHC to ask for information on safe migration as well as to ask for advice when they believe children on the move face specific risks of violence, abuse, exploitation and trafficking.
It protects children against risks by providing information about opportunities for regular and safe migration. It also helps children on the move to know how and where to access protection and other services they might need.
Chanthou was 16 when she disappeared from home in 2017. Her parents, distraught and fearing the worst, turned to CHC when the village authorities could not help.
All they knew was that their daughter had been contacted by a woman who had offered her a good income if she were to leave the village and work for her. CHC worked with Chanthou’s parents and gave them the support and information they needed while looking for their daughter. CHC referred Chanthou’s disappearance to an NGO partner, as well as the Provincial Department of Women’s Affairs, and the Provincial Department of Anti-trafficking and Juvenile Protection. After a few weeks Chanthou was found. After all the necessary assessments were made, she was safely returned home.