Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Report examines risks to migrant workers

Report examines risks to migrant workers

Chou Bun Eng, the permanent vice chair of the National Committee for Counter Trafficking Persons, speaks yesterday at a report launch in Phnom Penh.
Chou Bun Eng, the permanent vice chair of the National Committee for Counter Trafficking Persons, speaks yesterday at a report launch in Phnom Penh. Heng Chivoan

Report examines risks to migrant workers

A new report has found nearly three-quarters of people who migrate to work internally in Cambodia leave home with no idea of what kind of job, if any, they will get – increasing the chance they could become victims of human trafficking.

The Open Institute report – Internal Migration Patterns and Practices of Low-Skilled and Unskilled Workers in Cambodia – found just 28 percent of 315 internal migrant workers in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Preah Sihanouk and Svay Rieng had travelled safely with job information.

Researchers also interviewed 239 human resources managers in the same four provinces in four sectors – manufacturing, hospitality, construction and security – and found at least two-thirds of participating companies had ready jobs available but had difficulty finding workers.

Most workers, the report noted, received job information from relatives or friends.

“A significant number of potential workers lacked access to trusted information,” said Phong Kimchhoy, a researcher at the Open Institute. “We want them to be more active in researching before migrating. This can reduce human trafficking.”

However, the report’s finding annoyed at least one government official. During an event yesterday to present the results, Ouk Ravuth, head of the Ministry of Labour’s department of employment and manpower, became defensive, and said the report covered only four provinces, which meant it did not reflect the national picture.

“It’s not quite right,” he said, adding that prospective workers could get information from the National Employment Agency’s broadcasts on radio and television. He then suggested the researchers amend their report before publishing it.

“Collect information from the government so you can understand the scope of what the government has done,” he said. Ravuth declined to comment after the event, and Ministry of Labour spokesman Heng Sour couldn’t be reached. Although researchers said the full report would be made available after the event, it didn’t appear on the Open Institute’s website until after 6pm.

Minutes earlier, Federico Barreras, the project manager for the counter trafficking-in-persons project at the Open Institute, said that was because the executive summary had not been finalised and was still being edited. He said the editing was not due to Ravuth’s comments but to ensure the “writing is well-done”.

And, he added, while many workers were not getting the information they needed about work, “this doesn’t mean the NEA is not doing its job”.

Dy Thehoya, a program officer with labour rights group Central, said the report likely did reflect the national situation as people in rural areas were typically unaware of the risks.

“They know nothing about how to migrate safely,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Second Hungary business forum set for H2

    Cambodia has asked Hungary to provide GSP- (Generalised System of Preferences) Plus facilities for when the Kingdom sheds its least-developed country (LDC) label, as the two countries prepare to hold a second business forum in the second half (H2) of this year to expand trade

  • Thai boxers to join SEA Games’ Kun Khmer event

    The Cambodian SEA Games Organising Committee (CAMSOC) – together with the Kun Khmer International Federation (KKIF) and Khmer Boxing Federation – have achieved a “great success” by including Kun Khmer in the upcoming biennial multi-sports event on its home soil for the first time, said a senior

  • Bullets to bracelets: Siem Reap man makes waste from war wearable

    Jewellery is often made from valuable gemstones like emeralds or diamonds and precious metals like gold or silver, or valueless things like animal horns. But a man in Siem Reap has approached the manufacture of delicate pieces from a different angle. His unique form of

  • 61% of 2022 imports came from just 3 markets

    The three largest exporters to Cambodia – mainland China, Vietnam and Thailand – accounted for 60.94 per cent of the Kingdom’s total merchandise imports last year, at $18.245 billion, which was up 11.99 per cent over 2021, according to the General Department of Customs and Excise. Cambodia’s total imports

  • CPP sets out five primary strategic goals for 2023-28

    The Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) on January 29 concluded its two-day extraordinary congress, setting the party’s priority goals for 2023-2028. The ruling party’s congress was attended by more than 3,000 members from across the Kingdom, including the members of the permanent and central committees,

  • Nearly 50 states join Kun Khmer Federation, all set for training

    In a little over a week, the Kun Khmer International Federation (KKIF) has accepted membership requests from 20 new nations, in addition to the exiting 29. The sudden influx of international recognition stems from the Kingdom’s successful introduction of Kun Khmer to the 32nd Souheast Asian (