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The Law Enforcement Against Sexual Exploitation and Trafficking of Children (LEASETC) Project has been implemented in three phases: Phase 1 from April 2000 to March 2002; Phase 2 from April 2002 to March 2005; and Phase 3 from April 2005 to December 2008. Over its three phases, the project has focused on:
a) developing and improving reference documents, training materials and modules;
b) delivering training of national trainers and selected police officers nationwide on investigation techniques and child sensitization;
c) providing on the job training and material support to selected specialist police units
d) establishing and extending a 24-hour telephone hotline; and
e) establishing and extending a national Sex Crimes database.
An assessment of the LEASETC project, particularly of Phases 1 and 2, has been conducted in the first quarter of 2006 documenting project achievements and lessons learned. Among the achievements of the project by the end of Phase 2 are the establishment of the Anti-Human Trafficking and Juvenile Protection (AHTJP) Department and its corresponding specialist units in 7 provinces and sub-sections in 17 provinces; the development and functioning of a national database and standard forms for data collection and monitoring of trafficking, sexual abuse and exploitation cases (TSEAC), as well as of a 24-hour/7-day hotline; the development and use of a standard medical examination form and certificate for sexual abuse cases; significant improvement in AHTJP police investigation skills in five priority provinces; and greater sensitivity and awareness by police to the needs of and laws applying to children.
With the dramatic increases in reporting, arrests and investigations of cases of TSEAC cases from the time of inception of the LEASETC project, it has been praised by the top officials of the government and by many development partners for the significant progress it has achieved, especially its contribution to the creation of the first specialist police unit in the Southeast Asia Region to combat trafficking and sexual exploitation of children and the remarkable impact of the project on police work. Spurred by these positive outcomes, MoI, UNICEF and World Vision extended the LEASETC project into its third phase with support from the UK government via the British Embassy in Cambodia, World Vision UK and World Vision Canada.
This Assessment focuses on Phase 3 of LEASETC: creation of further specialist units in additional provinces; on-the-job training, follow-up and case management for AHTJP units in ten priority provinces; updating of training materials to conform to newly adopted legislation; establishment of local police training at the district and commune levels; integration of LEASETC training into the curriculum of the Cambodian Police Academy and Regional Training Schools; strengthening of forensic evidence examination for sexual abuse cases; establishment of provincial hotlines and a database networking system in selected locations; and improving collaboration between the police, social and justice sectors.
This assessment has two main purposes: i) to assess the impact, effectiveness, relevance and sustainability of the LEASETC project and ii) to recommend future directions and strategies to assist the Royal Government of Cambodia (RGC), UNICEF and World Vision Cambodia to strengthen the country’s justice system -- especially the law enforcement sector - for child victims of exploitation, trafficking, abuse and violence.
This assessment also aims to establish an evidence base of promising practices and lessons learned – with respect to law enforcement trainings, capacity building measures, database operations, hotline services and forensic examinationsi -- to inform future law enforcement initiatives at the national, provincial and local levels. Further, this assessment examines partnerships and inter-agency/inter-sectoral collaboration, as well as existing/emerging opportunities and risks in light of broader policy developments and newly created regulatory and structural frameworks relating to child trafficking, exploitation, abuse and violence.
Utilizing a participatory and mixed method approach, this evaluation addresses the following key questions:
What have been the impact/outcomes of project objectives – intended, positive and negative? Have there been any unforeseen impacts/outcomes?
What are the promising practices and lessons learned from the LEASETC project? Challenges and opportunities? Gaps and areas for improvement?
What are your recommendations for the LEASETC project’s future direction and strategies?
Additionally, an evaluation tool containing targeted questions was designed to obtain information specific to the expertise, experience and profile of respondents (see A-2: Assessment Tools). This yielded rich and varied information, lending itself to a fuller portrait of the law enforcement response and broader context for children in Cambodia.
The evaluator gathered quantitative and qualitative information through:
focus group discussions
laws, decrees & prakas
guidelines & circulars
LEASETC project documents
statistics & forms
reports, presentations & assessments
The evaluation used the following standard evaluation criteria:
Relevance - the extent to which the objectives of a development intervention are consistent with duty bearers and rights-holders requirements, country needs, global priorities and partners’ and donors’ policies. Retrospectively, the question of relevance often becomes a question as to whether the objectives of an intervention or its design are still appropriate given changed circumstances.
Efficiency - an economic term referring to the measure of the relative cost of resources used in a programme to achieve its objectives.
Effectiveness - a measure of the extent to which an aid programme attains its objectives or produces its desired results.
Protection - activities aimed at obtaining full respect for the rights of individuals in accordance with the letter and the spirit of the relevant bodies of law (i.e. human rights, humanitarian and refugee law) which are conducted impartially and not on the basis of race, national or ethnic origin, language or gender.
Impact - positive and negative long-term effects on identifiable population groups produced by a development intervention, directly or indirectly, intended or unintended. These effects can be economic, socio-cultural, institutional, environmental, technological or of other types.
Sustainability - the continuation of benefits from a development intervention after major development assistance has been completed.
Over twenty days, the evaluator conducted interviews, focus group discussions and site observations in six locations: Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Banteay Meanchey, Kampong Chhnang, Takeo and Kampong Cham.
Approximately three days were spent in each of the priority provinces – Siem Reap, Banteay Meanchey, Kampong Chhnang -- and two days in each of the non-priority provinces – Takeo and Kampong Cham. One week was spent in Phnom Penh to conduct interviews with representatives of government ministries, AHTJP, development partners and UNICEF Cambodia.
Approximately 150 stakeholders across six locations provided invaluable input into this evaluation, representing:
Children and families
Ministry of Interior
Ministry of Justice
Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation
Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training
Ministry of Tourism
Law enforcement – AHTJP & CID
Investigating Judges & Presidents of Courts
UK & French embassies
IGOs (UNICEF, UNIAP, IOM, UNDP)
NGOs (ADHOC, AFESIP, APLE, ARTIP, CCJAP, CWCC, ECPAT, IJM, KK, LAC, LICADHO, PJJ, SISHA, TAF, VCAO, WVC)
Meetings scheduled with the Ministry of Women’s Affairs and Ministry of Health did not take place due to their unavailability.
Utilizing a participatory and mixed-method approach, this evaluation combines qualitative and quantitative information and promotes maximum input from all relevant stakeholders to obtain diverse perspectives on the various aspects of child justice. Respondents were also asked to provide recommendations to improve the law enforcement response to child victims of exploitation, trafficking, abuse and violence.
Although the Assessment terms of reference focuses primarily on LEASETC, the evaluator undertook a broader analysis, examining issues of governance, structural frameworks, legislative reform initiatives, policy coherence and aid effectiveness in addition to LEASETC’s functioning and compliance with international standards. This is envisaged to establish an evidence base to inform future initiatives utilising a sector wide approach whilst ensuring coherence with national priorities and policies, ministerial/departmental strategic plans, child protection systems building, and other broader developments. Moreover, this approach precludes the recommendation of redundant, contradictory or fragmented interventions for children and leverages momentum for existing and future initiatives.
The four weeks allocated for this field research does not allow for a rigorous evaluation of the LEASETC project, including a comprehensive analysis of all project activities and examination of the law enforcement, judicial, social and labour sectors at both national and sub-national levels.
Further, the challenges of attribution – that is, how and to what extent LEASETC project activities contributed to the overall impact – are inherent within the Cambodian development context where socio-economic, political and cultural dynamics are complex and dynamic. Change is seldom attributable to any single project, or factor – and more likely the result of a combination of several factors. Compounding this are the numerous law enforcement trainings and capacity building efforts carried out by different entities cutting across topics and geographic areas of Cambodia. The evaluator therefore does not rely on statistics alone but utilises multiple methodologies, including qualitative measurement tools, in order to generate a better understanding of what has worked, why it has worked and to what extent can change be attributed to LEASETC contributions. Nevertheless, this assessment report should be considered with these limitations in mind.
II. LAW ENFORCEMENT AGAINST SEXUAL ABUSE, SEXUAL EXPLOITATION & TRAFFICKING OF CHILDREN PROJECT
2.1.1 LEASETC project
The Law Enforcement Against Sexual Exploitation and Trafficking of Children (LEASETC) Project was launched in April 2000 by the Ministry of Interior (MoI) in cooperation with UNICEF, UNOHCHR, World Vision Cambodia, International Office for Migration (IOM), and Save the Children Australia, as a response to the increasing reports of trafficking and sexual exploitation of children in Cambodia and the seriousness of the issue. Since the project’s launch in 2000, the project has received ongoing financial and technical support primarily from UNICEF and World Vision Cambodia (WVC).
The overall goal of the LEASETC project is to improve the capacity of the Cambodian National Police (CNP) to investigate cases of sexual abuse, exploitation and trafficking of children, rescue victims of trafficking and sexual exploitation, arrest offenders, search for evidence and prepare cases for prosecution. With three distinct phases since 2000, the LEASETC project entered its third phase from 2006 to 2008.
During Phase 3, LEASETC supported 10 priority provinces: Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Battambang, Banteay Meanchey, Sihanoukville, Kandal, Prey Veng, Svay Rieng, Kampong Chhnang and Kampong Thom. LEASETC support included: on-the-job training; follow up and case management sessions for existing and newly created AHTJP provincial sub-units; basic and refresher trainings for district and commune police; and technical assistance on newly enacted legislation such as the Criminal Procedures Code, the Law on Suppression of the Kidnapping and Trafficking of Human Persons and Exploitation of Human Persons (TIPSE Law) and the Law on Domestic Violence, as well as database operations, hotline services and medical forensic evidence certification.
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