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Ministry touts scope of aid for returned workers

A migrant domestic worker (right) embraces her child in August after being repatriated from poor working conditions in Malaysia.
A migrant domestic worker (right) embraces her child in August after being repatriated from poor working conditions in Malaysia. Heng Chivoan

Ministry touts scope of aid for returned workers

Nearly 600 Cambodian workers were rescued and repatriated from 11 countries in the first nine months of this year, according to a report released by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday, putting the country on pace for a 35 percent increase in recorded cases for 2016.

The report, which cited 578 individuals aided, lauded the ministry’s efforts in assisting abused Cambodian workers in acquiring legal support, seeking compensation, coordinating with local authorities, applying for visas and repatriating.

While ministry spokesman Chum Sounry could not provide the number of workers repatriated for the same nine-month period a year ago, the 2016 numbers have already surpassed last year’s total.

“In the whole of 2015, 573 Cambodian workers were repatriated,” he said.

But Dy Thehoya, program officer at Center for Alliance of Labor and Human Rights (CENTRAL), was sceptical of the ministry’s reach.

“I think the ministry and consular are unable to help [the workers] systematically because they can only act when they get information from those workers,” he said. “They don’t have specific information about where their people are and what they are doing.”

Of those 578 workers, 174 were repatriated from Vietnam, 150 from Malaysia, 133 from Thailand, 57 from Indonesia, and 47 from China.

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