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March calls for end to child labour

More than 1,000 people marched in Sihanoukville yesterday to raise awareness of the exploitation of child labour, said rights workers.

Kong Socheat, child rights advocacy co-ordinator for Licadho, said the province had been chosen for its high rate of child labour, especially in the fishing sector. The march, which involved the local authorities, families and NGOs, was timed to Tuesday’s World Day Against Child Labour.

“We all, the government and the organisations, have to work together to ... protect the child from working, and especially their parents have to pay attention to sending their children to school over asking them to work,” said Kong Socheat.

The labour law is lacking in child protections, he added.

“It does not cover all working children such as child domestic workers,” he said.

According to a report published last year by the International Trade Union Confederation, about 52 per cent of children in Cambodia aged between 7 and 14 performed work in some form of economic activities.

Yov Khemera, provincial director of the Sihanoukville labour department, could not be reached for comment, but Veng Heang, director of the child labour department at the Labour Ministry, said the labour law had made strides in progress.

“We accept that our law is still lacking in terms of protecting children … but we have prakas for protecting the children,” he said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Mom Kunthear at kunthear.mom@phnompenhpost.com

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