To mark International Street Vendors Day yesterday, a union leader representing thousands of informal workers called for the construction of nurseries for children of market and street vendors.
Vorn Pov, president of the Independent Democracy of Informal Economy Association, said he wants to see market owners and the government initiate the construction of nurseries for parents who cannot afford to send their children to private centres.
“These workers really need a place to keep their children,” he said. “This will guarantee safety and give the parents more freedom to run their businesses and make money for their families.”
Mr Pov estimated that 67 percent of people in the country’s workforce are employed in the informal sector, adding 50 percent of them bring their children to work because they do not have someone to take care of them at home.
“The children who come with their mothers to sell goods at the market or on the street face many risks,” he said. “The workplace can affect their health, and they are also at risk of being in traffic accidents.”
Mr Pov noted that many street vendors often put their children in or under their carts, which could be very dangerous for the child as the cart is pushed or driven.
“For the nurseries, the state can build them to take care of children for free, or the vendors can contribute what little money they have,” he said. “We hope that the government will consider our suggestion because we have seen that the government has introduced many social protections.”
Neb Soeun, 53, a vendor who sells potatoes at Doeum Kor market, supported Mr Pov’s suggestion.
“I have been selling here for more than 13 years already and I have brought my child since he was just five-months-old,” she said. “It is not easy bringing him to work, but I am divorced and have nowhere else to send him.”