Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Abuse fears holding up workers pact for Qatar




Abuse fears holding up workers pact for Qatar

Abuse fears holding up workers pact for Qatar

A major factor holding up an agreement to send Cambodian workers to Qatar is the Cambodian government’s refusal to send domestic workers to the country amid a “high risk” of sexual abuse, a Labour Ministry official said yesterday.

Cambodia and Qatar signed a memorandum of understanding in 2011 to allow Cambodians to work in the Middle Eastern state, where thousands of migrant workers, many from South Asia, have flocked for jobs in the lead up to the 2022 World Cup.

The agreement, however, is yet to be finalised as Cambodian officials attempt to negotiate safeguards amid widespread reports of unsafe working environments and physical and sexual abuse.

Yesterday, three Cambodian trade unions held a presentation for workers highlighting the potential risks of working in Qatar. According to some reports, more than 1,000 workers have died building stadiums ahead of the tournament.

Speaking yesterday, a Labour Ministry official said trips to Qatar by recruitment companies liaising with the ministry suggested the country was mainly interested in getting domestic workers rather than builders.

The official, who declined to be named as they were not authorised to speak to the media, said the same visits also fuelled concerns about what that might mean for those sent.

“Cambodian domestic workers often have very low education and they could be easily abused,” he said. “Our concern is the high risk of sexual abuse.”

He also noted that the average domestic worker wages in Qatar of $250 were less than in Thailand, while Qatar’s harsh laws could have grave consequences for those sent.

Speaking yesterday, Ministry of Labour spokesman Heng Sour said fears surrounding the abuse of domestic workers were “not the only problem” but said the ministry will focus on the issue.

Sok Chanpheakdey of Philimore recruitment agency, one of the firms with a licence to send workers to Qatar when the agreement is finished, has previously visited the country.

“We learned that the culture is a big problem and don’t want to send maids to Qatar.”

MOST VIEWED

  • All inbound flights set to face added scrutiny

    Ministry of Health spokesperson Or Vandine said on Monday that the ministry is monitoring all inbound flights, after it was announced that only those from Malaysia and Indonesia will be temporarily cancelled from August 1. Vandine said on Monday that the two countries were identified as

  • Flights from Indonesia, Malaysia cancelled

    A Ministry of Health official has warned of the possibility of Covid-19 spreading through community transmission after the total infected cases in the Kingdom rose to 225. Ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine told reporters on Saturday that the possibility of community transmission cannot be overlooked and that

  • Man in quarantine dies of ‘overdose’

    The Ministry of Health on Thursday said a Cambodian migrant worker who died while being isolated at a quarantine centre in Tbong Khmum province’s Kroch Chhmar district may have died from syncope or overdose of tablets. In a statement, the ministry said the 21-year-old

  • Ministry set to reopen 20 schools in August

    The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport will allow 20 high-safety-standards schools to reopen next month despite new cases of Covid-19 in the country. Ministry spokesperson Ros Soveacha wrote in a Telegram message on Wednesday that the schools are in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Battambang.