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Thousands deported from Thailand in April

Pav Suy / Khmer Times Share:
Illegal migrant workers return after being deported. KT/Mai Vireak

Thai authorities deported thousands of illegal Cambodian migrant workers through the Poipet International Border Checkpoint last month in Banteay Meanchey province.

The bodies of nine people were also returned to Cambodia at the same time, according to a report released by the National Police.

The report said 3,750 Cambodians, including 1,990 men, 1,359 women and 401 children, were deported for illegally working in Thailand in April.

In a recent provincial meeting, Governor Soun Bovor said illegal migration was an important issue relating to the safety of Cambodians who look for jobs illegally through brokers and then risk arrest by Thai authority.

Mr Bovor could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Soum Chankea, provincial coordinator with rights group Adhoc, said the figure seemed to be underestimated because other illegal migrant workers were not recorded.

“We think that this figure is too low. Some other people who went to work illegally and were deported were not counted in the report,” he said “We remember seeing a much larger figure a few years ago.”

“The reason they choose to go to work illegally is that they save time and money,” he added. “They need to find companies that have a memorandum of understanding with the Cambodian and Thai authorities. They need to pay money and go through the process of getting a passport. It is costly for them, so they choose to go without a passport.”

KT/Mai Vireak

Last month, Cambodian and Thai Labour Ministry officials met in Siem Reap province and asserted their commitment to strengthen cooperation by agreeing to accelerate the legal identification process of Cambodian workers in Thailand.

Seng Sakada, director-general of the Labour Ministry’s general department of labour, and Vivathana Thanghong, undersecretary of state with the Thai Labour Ministry, agreed to extend cooperation and cohesiveness, while vowing to fight human trafficking and labour exploitation.

“The two countries agreed to move faster in providing legal documents to Cambodian labourers in Thailand before June 30, 2018,” Labour Minister Ith Samheng said, referencing the looming deadline for illegal workers to get their oaperwork completed.

The Thai government also last month opened 80 one-stop service centres throughout the country for migrant workers in Thailand to obtain legal documents before the end of June.

According to an Interior Ministry report, more than 500 dead Cambodians were repatriated from Thailand in the first six months of last year, and more than 1.5 million Cambodians are working both legally and illegally in Thailand.

In the first six months of the this year, Cambodian embassies repatriated thousands of Cambodian workers from ten countries, including Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Laos, Myanmar, Indonesia, Singapore, China, Japan and South Korea.

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