Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday ordered the Labour Ministry to pay attention to the safety of women migrant workers.
“The Ministry of Labour must monitor the welfare of Cambodian female workers abroad to protect them from any abuse,” Mr Hun Sen said during the annual meeting of the Cambodian National Council for Women at the Peace Palace.
Cambodia sends workers to Thailand, South Korea, Malaysia, Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong. There are around 1.2 million migrant workers who remit a total of about $2 billion annually back to their families in the Kingdom.
The Labour Ministry has issued licences to more than 100 private recruitment agencies for recruitment, training, sending and managing the workers abroad.
Last year, 36,262 Cambodians were rescued and repatriated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from several countries with most of them being migrant workers, a ministry statement said recently.
It added that most of them were women who were human trafficking or abuse victims.
Heng Sour, a Labour Ministry spokesman, could not be reached for comment yesterday.
De The Hoya, programme officer for labour rights Central, said yesterday that migrant workers who go to work illegally do so because they lack information about immigration laws.
A code of conduct for Cambodian private recruitment agencies was launched last month for all recruitment agencies to adhere to and ensure the protection of workers’ rights and to support them.
Chou Bun Eng, vice-chair of the National Committee for Counter Trafficking (NCCT), said earlier this month that there are over one million Cambodians working abroad legally or illegally and more has to be done to solve the legal status of undocumented workers.