Voiceless: Inside Siem Reap's Drug Rehab Centre

PhotographerSerey Siv
PrizeHonorable Mention
Entry Description

In Cambodia, methamphetamine use constitutes about 85 per cent of all drug use in the Kingdom, according to the National Authority for Combating Drugs. Since January 2017, I have been visiting and documenting the conditions at the drug rehabilitation centre in Siem Reap and strongly feel that it is a situation that needs to be illuminated. Inmates at the centre are essentially prisoners, kept in mass cells, without access to medical care or true drug rehabilitation support. Punishment of prisoners can be severe and there is no treatment plan in place to help them achieve a drug free life. My wish is to hopefully highlight the situation to a broader audience and encourage a change in policy.

Story

The Cambodian government has begun a nationwide crackdown on drug addicts with its new anti-drug campaign since the beginning of this year. As of June 25, more than 9,400 people were arrested for drug-related crimes since January 1. Methamphetamine use constitutes about 85 per cent of all drug use in the Kingdom, according to the National Authority for Combating Drugs. With the country's largest drug rehabilitation center due to open this year, officials hope to see a decrease in the number of drug users. In spite of what seems to be a good effort from the Cambodian government, NGOs such as LICADHO and Human Rights Watch has called for the immediate closure of all drug detention centers in the country due to their abusive nature. Cases of sexual abuse, forced labor, extortion and torture have been reported by multiple organizations. Since January 2017, I have been visiting and documenting the conditions at the drug rehabilitation centre in Siem Reap and strongly feel that it is a situation that needs to be illuminated. Inmates at the centre are essentially prisoners, kept in mass cells, without access to medical care or true drug rehabilitation support. Punishment of prisoners can be severe and there is no treatment plan in place to help them achieve a drug free life. My wish is to hopefully highlight the situation to a broader audience and encourage a change in policy.