Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Migrant worker study reveals mass stigma

Migrant worker study reveals mass stigma

Migrant worker study reveals mass stigma

MORE than 80 per cent of people in Malaysia and Thailand do not believe undocumented migrant workers should expect any rights at their workplaces, a study released yesterday by the International Labour Org-anisation  reveals.

The study, which surveyed attitudes in Thailand, Malay-sia, Singapore and Korea towards migrant workers, also found that fewer than 50 per cent of people in all four countries would report the use of migrant children in dangerous work.

Tens of thousands of Cambodian migrant workers travel to Thailand and Malaysia every year to pursue job opp-ortunities through both legal and clandestine channels.

Maeve Galvin, a communication and advocacy officer at the ILO, said a key trend that emerged in the 4,000-person survey was that those who had the least education and personal experience with migrant workers also harboured the most negative views of them.

“I think it’s stigma. It comes from fear and a lack of awareness. You find the same thing with HIV,” Galvin said.

Education campaigns were needed to change  those perceptions, she added.

But Galvin said it was encouraging that in all four countries, the majority of people felt the government should crack down on companies that employed unregistered migrant workers rather than the individual employees themselves.

Thais, in general, held the most negative perception of workers from abroad, with fewer than 10 per cent of those surveyed answering that they had helped a migrant worker integrate into society or get ahead at work.

Moeun Tola, head of the labour programme at the Community Legal Educat-ion Centre, said yesterday education and improved skills training could also help Cambodian migrant workers become less susceptible to negative perceptions.

“I think my first impress-ion was finding out that the support for migrant workers’ rights in Thailand and Mal-aysia was much lower than in Singapore and Korea,” he said, explaining that this was because migrants in those countries were more skilled.

“Civil society activists always appeal to the government of Cambodia that we need to be ready for regional competition,’’ he said.

“Cambodians have to be ready in developing human resources – the education system is very important.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Ethnic group ‘disappointed’ to be denied French visas to attend court

    Eleven people at the centre of a case involving seven indigenous Bunong villages in Mondulkiri province pursuing legal action in France have expressed disappointment after the French embassy in Phnom Penh denied their visa applications to attend court. A press release said the 11 included a

  • Cambodia nabs 12th place in best retirement destinations

    Cambodia is an expatriate hotspot for those dreaming of living a more luxurious lifestyle at an affordable cost, according to International Living’s Annual Global Retirement Index 2019. For the fourth year in a row, Cambodia took the top spot in the Cost of Living category.

  • EU starts EBA withdrawal

    The EU on Monday announced that it has begun the 18-month process of withdrawing the Kingdom’s access to its preferential Everything But Arms (EBA) agreement over “a deterioration of democracy [and] respect for human rights”. However, the Garment Manufacturers Association of Cambodia (GMAC) said

  • PM: War result of foreign meddling

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said on Sunday that Cambodia’s recent history of conflict was caused by foreign interference. “The wars that happened were caused by provocation, incitement, support, smearing and interference from foreign powers, and the group of ignorant people who pushed Cambodia to