AN Interior Ministry official compared some labour recruitment firms and agents to human traffickers during a recent discussion convened by the Club of Cambodian Journalists.
Chiv Phally, deputy director of the Interior Ministry’s Anti-Human Trafficking and Juvenile Protection Department, criticised in particular the financial incentives in place for agents who convince women to work abroad.
“When an agent lobbies a person to apply for a job abroad, that agent will get up to 600,000 riels (US$141) from the recruitment agency,” he said.
“Is this not a human trafficking case? [The 2008 Law on the Suppression of Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation] states that if you take a person to give to another, that’s human trafficking.”
Friday’s discussion involved officials from the Labour Ministry, the Interior Ministry and the Association of Cambodian Recruitment Agencies. In addition to concerns about financial incentives for agents, participants focused on concerns about recruitment firms opening new branches without informing the government.
The comments from Chiv Phally, who did not reference any firms or agents by name, came amid a spate of reports of alleged abuses committed by recruitment firms in the capital and elsewhere. Though law enforcement officials have expressed alarm about the reports and launched investigations in some cases, the Labour Ministry has maintained that foreign markets provide an important source of jobs for a burgeoning local workforce.
Sok Chanpheakdey, secretary general of the ACRA and director of the recruitment company Philimore, said yesterday that the practices of some firms were questionable, but that these firms were not members of the ACRA.