The International Social Work Conference on Children and Youth was held in Phnom Penh Monday and Tuesday, where the latest research was presented on improving the wellbeing of children in developing nations, highlighting some of the problems facing Cambodia’s underfunded social welfare services. A social worker’s job is to identify and support children and families most at risk of exploitation and abuse. Yet in Cambodia—where sexual abuse, human trafficking and child exploitation are ubiquitous and where the mental health symptoms caused by Cambodia’s traumatic past are left largely untreated—social workers are scarce. According to a 2009 Unicef report,
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