A senior Labour Ministry official yesterday warned that parents should refrain from taking their children to work in order to prevent them from child labour.
The statement was made by ministry secretary of state Soeung Sarsochenda during a World Day against Child Labour anniversary celebration with the theme of “Promoting Child’s Rights through the Elimination of All Forms of Child Domestic Violence”.
Ms Sarsochenda said the ministry has been paying attention to stop the practice from occurring, including by providing technical and vocational training to integrate rescued children into society and collaborating with civil society organisations to fight against the trafficking of children.
Ms Sarsochenda said the ministry still faces obstacles in curbing the practice of child labour because parents continue to bring their children to work.
“The understanding of parents and also communities [is the problem],” she said. “but the ministry has organised legal norms and have disseminated [information] to them.”
“We also plan to hold a training course next Monday for sub-national officials in order for them to understand about the elimination of child labour, laws and the measures taken by the government to protect Cambodian children,” Ms Sarsochenda added.
She noted that the ministry will continue to monitor businesses to ensure that child labour does not occur.
“Our working group has gone down and inspected sites to explain and provide advice,” Ms Sarsochenda said. “Not only to parents, but also business owners. We tell them not to allow children to work.”
Veng Heang, director of the ministry’s child labour department, yesterday said it helps rescue about 400 children annually and that it has prevented 260,000 children from working.
“The child labour figure has declined a lot, for example: during the last 15 years, we identified 173 cases in garment factories,” Mr Heang said. “This year, we have only found one case. Most employers understand about child labour.”
He said that the government is pushing for more sites to be inspected and that it is working with stakeholders to ensure that Cambodian children are protected.
Mr Heang noted that last year, there were five cases of child labour identified by the ministry. He said the owners of the factories found to have employed children last year were fined in accordance with the law.
Prime Minister Hun Sen earlier this month said in a letter that everyone should join in the protection of children and eliminate child labour.
According to him, nearly 30,000 children have been rescued from the worst forms of child labour, and nearly 180,000 have been prevented from working.