A small survey of families in five villages in Battambang has found that most workers who are lured to illegal migrant work in Thailand cite salaries of twice the average Cambodian wage or higher as their main reason and appear unaware of the risks.
Moeun Tola, head of the labour program the Community Legal Education Center, said the group interviewed more than 200 families – most of whose children had gone to Thailand since the election.
“We found that the village is absent of labourers. We interviewed them, and most said that they agreed to allow their children to go abroad because the salary is double or more than local salary,” he said.
Though the government has long maintained it adequately educates villagers about the risks of illegal migrant labour, Tola said most of those interviewed had never heard from authorities on the dangers abroad.
Lim Sophal, 31, who has two sons working in Thailand, said that his farm had been failing, forcing the family to borrow money and sending them into debt.
“I heard that the salary over there is double. We did not think first of the risk, we just needed something for our stomach. This is the first time that I have heard of the dangers abroad, and now I am starting to get worried about my son,” he said.