Thousands of migrants rescued

Ben Sokhean / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
An NGO worker speaks with migrant workers upon their return from Thailand. KT/Mai Vireak

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs rescued and repatriated nearly 8,500 people, the majority migrant workers, from overseas abuse last year.

A report released during the ministry’s annual conference, which ends today, noted the figure. According to the report, the Ministry of Foreign Affair last year rescued and repatriated 8,489 people.

“We intervened to rescue and repatriate 8,489 Cambodian people, especially migrant workers, who were abused abroad,” Ouch Borith, a secretary of state at the ministry, said during the meeting.

Ministry spokesman Ket Sophann said most of the repatriated migrant works were employed as maids or fishermen, and many others were trafficked to marry men in other countries.

“Those who were abused included maids, Cambodian fishermen who were trafficked to illegally work on boats, and those who were cheated by ringleaders to work as migrant workers and be brides,” he said. “The cases mostly happened in Malaysia, China, Vietnam and Thailand.”

The report also noted that Cambodia has diplomatic ties with 172 countries and has 60 missions abroad.

Mr Borith noted that Cambodia has signed visa exemptions with some of the countries.

“As of 2018, Cambodia signed agreements with 34 countries over visa exemptions,” he said. “Cambodia is also preparing to open an embassy in Bulgaria, Turkey and Serbia in order to increase confidence and open new markets.”

Mr Borith added that 2018 was a battle for the ministry when it came to fending off interference in the Kingdom’s internal affairs by other nations.

“Last year, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation struggled with diplomatic battles, and hit back against threats to our independence and sovereignty,” he said.

Political analyst Hang Vitou expressed support for the ministry’s effort to aid overseas workers.

“We must all appreciate the good efforts over the past few years by the ministry to keep our migrant workers safe,” he said. “However, I think the ministry still has much work to do in this regard.”

“Our relationship with Cambodian workers abroad is limited,” he added. “I encourage our government to increase its attention to our people who are living, studying or working overseas.”

According to a ministry statement, the conference was an opportunity for officials to broaden comprehensive knowledge on key issues.

The statement added that the conference promoted practical knowledge, deepened critical analysis and clear comprehension for Cambodian diplomats to effectively fulfil their missions.

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