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New group formed to help migrant workers

A migrant worker waits to apply for working documents on the Thai-Cambodia border in Poipet last year.
A migrant worker waits to apply for working documents on the Thai-Cambodia border in Poipet last year. Hong Menea

New group formed to help migrant workers

A group of Cambodians in Thailand have formed an association to provide legal aid to the country’s Cambodian factory workers, saying the workers risk abuse due to their lack of proper documentation and knowledge of labour laws.

The Cambodian Friendship Migrant Workers Association in Thailand, which is mostly composed of Cambodian factory supervisors and Cambodians who graduated from Thai universities, was created on June 28 and now has about 40 members, according to Som Serimony, one of its founders.

Serimony said most Cambodian migrant workers in Thailand face difficulties ranging from brokers cheating them after bringing them into the country to police arresting them due to their lack of papers.

“Our association has not yet registered to get a licence from Thai authorities, but we expect to ask for one next year,” he said.

The association is an initiative of the Community Legal Education Center (CLEC).

Even without a licence, “we work closely with local Thai authorities and the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security in Thailand”, said Dy Thehoya, head of the migrant labour program at CLEC.

The Ministry of Labour has estimated that about 700,000 Cambodian migrant workers, both documented and undocumented, currently work in Thailand.

Labour Ministry spokesman Heng Sour could not be reached for comment.

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