The National Committee for Counter Trafficking’s (NCCT) six-month report, released on Monday, identified two cases of child labour in brick-making factories in Siem Reap, though officials and a rights group monitor said the use of such labour had decreased in the province.
The report said that the Labour Department for Siem Reap had monitored 20 brick-making factories in the province, two of which were found to have around 200 children working alongside their parents. The factories have since closed down because of financial troubles.
“We are still waiting for reports from the Ministry of Labour and the Social Affairs Ministry about the use of child labour,” said Thorng Samath, secretary of the NCCT.
The report comes months after rights group Licadho released findings showing the prevalence of debt bondage and child labour at brick kilns – both illegal under Cambodian and international laws. At the time, Labour Minister Ith Sam Heng threatened the NGO with legal action if their observations were found to be inaccurate.
Ngor Kunthy, chief of Banteay Srei district, where the two factories were located, said the children were not performing hard labour but were only helping their parents after finishing school, though he added there were still a few cases of bonded labour.
“Some families owe money to the brick factory owners, so they only help pay back their parents’ loans,” she said.
Licadho’s provincial coordinator Men Kimsur said the instances of child labour had dropped since the NGO monitored such activities up until 2015. “But we still see some children in the brick factories but not as serious as before.”