Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Ministry questions brick factory report

Ministry questions brick factory report

Workers move bricks through a factory in Kandal’s Muk Kampoul district late last month.
Workers move bricks through a factory in Kandal’s Muk Kampoul district late last month. Pha Lina

Ministry questions brick factory report

The Labour Ministry on Friday sidestepped evidence uncovered by rights group Licadho suggesting the use of debt bondage is rife in Cambodian brick factories, instead choosing to question the group’s methods.

The statement, released in response to the group’s December 2 report Built on Slavery: Debt Bondage and Child Labour in Cambodia’s Brick Factories, failed to acknowledge researchers’ central claim: that many factory owners used indentured workers as a way of trapping families in poverty and servitude despite the practice being illegal under Cambodian law.

Instead, the ministry questioned why Licadho had not reported to officials alleged cases of child labour at the factories it visited. “The ministry regrets that Licadho officials failed to file a complaint to relevant authorities or the ministry to take children out of child labour, if they really saw such instances during their investigation,” the statement reads.

Labour Ministry spokesman Heng Sour attacked the group on Facebook, claiming its investigators lacked “professionalism and sympathy”. Sour was unreachable, but an official at the ministry’s child protection department, who would only give his name as Sopheak, claimed the ministry had eliminated child labour at brick factories. Sopheak called debt bondage, a practice which Licadho said draws the children of indebted workers into the industry, a “private matter”.

Licadho’s Am Sam Ath yesterday said the group would happily cooperate with authorities to improve conditions.

MOST VIEWED

  • Proof giants walked among us humans?

    For years a debate has waged about whether certain bas relief carvings at the 12th-century To Prohm Temple, one of the most popular attractions at the Angkor Wat Temple Complex in Siem Reap province, depicted dinosaurs or some rather less exotic and more contemporary animal,

  • Japan bank buys major stake in ANZ Royal Bank

    Japan's largest bank acquired more than half of ANZ’s shares in Cambodia on Thursday, according to a statement from Kith Meng’s Royal Group. Japan's JTrust Bank, announced that they had acquired a 55% of stake in ANZ Royal Bank. According to a Royal Group

  • Long way to go before Cambodia gets a ‘smart city’

    Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Battambang will struggle to attain smart city status without adopting far reaching master plans, according to officials tasked with implementing the program. The brainchild of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), the smart city program seeks to link up

  • China-Cambodia tourism forum held

    The Cambodian tourism sector must be prepared to welcome a growing number of Chinese tourists, as they lead the globe in the number of outbound travellers and were responsible for the most visitors to the Kingdom last year, the country’s tourism minister said on