Tackling poverty of LGBTI people in Cambodia

CambodiaAlthough homosexuality is not criminalized, LGBTI people in Cambodia are regularly abused and subjected to socio-economic exclusion by their family, community, employers, local authorities and the police. As a result the LGBTI citizens of Cambodia are more at risk of becoming, and remaining, poor.

According to the World Bank, 20% (400,000) of the 2 million people living in Phnom Penh do so below the poverty line. To make matters worse the gap in poverty reduction strategies is huge. Development aid consistently fails to address sexual minorities and the few that do focus on HIV prevention of MSMs (men who have sex with men).

In 2014, we travelled to Cambodia to meet with several LGBT NGOs and human rights groups. We learned about the many levels of discrimination endured by LGBT people, including:

  • Rejection by their families and communities forces many to leave home and give up school
  • Abusive police often arrest gays and transwomen
  • Forced marriages of lesbians and transgender men
  • Little access to health services including sexual and reproductive health
  • Few job opportunities leave many to resort to sex work and drug dealing
  • Isolation and lack social safety nets
  • LGBT students and teachers are regularly removed from schools

With our local partners we are evaluating our pilot activities and designing a sustainable poverty reduction strategy that will change social attitudes and improve the lives of LGBTI people.

This programme is funded solely by the generosity of MRI Allies. If you would like us to continue tackling poverty of LGBTI people in Cambodia please consider becoming an MRI Ally today. To find out more about our work sign up to receive our quarterly e-bulletin or contact us

Cambodia Publication

Cambodia Report in Khmer

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Our local partners are:


MRI’s financial partner in Cambodia:


This project is supported by:

Give A Damn Foundation

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