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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Migrant abuse down, not out

Migrant abuse down, not out

Fewer cases of abuse of migrants were recorded last year than in 2012, but that doesn’t mean the issue is any less serious, a forum held by rights group Adhoc was told yesterday.

Torture, a lack of food, and physical and sexual abuse are just some of the threats faced by migrants and trafficked Cambodians, and neighbouring Thailand has been one of the worst offenders, Choun Chamrong, head of the women’s and children’s rights section of Adhoc, said yesterday.

“We found that some Cambodian workers who work legally and illegally in Thailand are suffering from mistreatment. We appeal to the Cambodian government to urge help for Cambodia migrant workers to be in a better situation,” she said.

Last year, Adhoc said it received 211 complaints of abuse and mistreatment from migrant workers, 75 from Thailand alone. The figures were far lower than in 2012, when the group had 400 complaints, but significantly higher than 2011, when it received 135.

Thirty Cambodians, Chamrong continued, had been shot dead in 2013 by Thai security forces after crossing illegally to log timber.

The cases brought to Adhoc ranged from physical assaults to broken promises of payment, as in the case of Chan Kimly, 25.

“I was cheated by a broker, who promised me a better job and salary in Thailand. Every day … I panicked, because I was there illegally. I eventually got a job on a plantation, but the boss never paid us, and when we complained, he threatened to have us arrested,” she said.

But Kimly, who escaped back to her hometown in Banteay Meanchey province, was one of the relatively lucky ones.

Tha Thor, 32, was stripped naked in public by her abusive boss, and only rescued by Thai police after a Cambodian embassy official intervened.

“I was mistreated by my Thai boss. I would like to appeal the government to seek justice in my case. And I appeal to other workers to consider carefully whether they should work abroad,” she said.

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