Prime Minister Hun Manet and many government ministries celebrated this year’s June 12 World Day Against Child Labour, held under the theme “Let's act on our commitments: End Child Labour!” 

While no recent figures were available, child labour cases have been recorded before in the Kingdom, often at brick kilns, where children were reportedly employed in order to help their parents escape from debt.

Am Sam Ath, operation director at rights group LICADHO, explained today that his NGO published a report in November last year. While inspecting kilns in 21 locations, it determined that several of them were exploiting child labour.

He said that the report recommended that debts must be cleared by any means necessary, if the practice of child labour is to be eradicated.

“Payment at these small brick manufacturers is not made on the basis of a regular salary, but is based on the productivity of each worker. In order to increase the amount of work they can accomplish, some parents are accompanied to work by their children, which is dangerous,” he added.

“In our report we recommended that debt must be cleared if child labour is to be wiped out,” he said. 

He noted that although the owners of the kilns do not force the children to work, they must take some responsibility for allowing desperate parents to bring their children to the factories.

An official from the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training claimed that the ministry’s latest round of inspections found no cases of child labour at the brick kilns.

"Inspection teams from the labour ministry inspected brick kilns and factories in 2023, as well as the first five months of 2024. They found no cases of child labour,” ministry spokesperson Katta Orn told The Post today. 

He added that the ministry would continue to educate workers and employers that they must not allow children to work, and encouraged parents and guardians to think about the health and safety of their kids, as well as their education, noting that all children should be attending school.

He also called on all state and civil society organisations, as well as members of the public, to report any instances of child labour they discover to the ministry as soon as possible, so that immediate action can be taken.