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Committee admits migrant workers still face problems

Sen David / Khmer Times Share:
NCCT and IOM officials meet over migrant workers. NCCT

The National Committee for Counter Trafficking yesterday held a workshop with the International Organization for Migration on safe migration in Phnom Penh, where it admitted there are still difficulties in protecting illegal workers overseas from human smuggling.

The workshop titled “Regional Coordination Workshop on Safe Migration for Countries of Origin with Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam” concludes today.

Chou Bun Eng, vice-chair of the NCCT, said there are over one million Cambodians legally and illegally working overseas and more has to be done to solve the legal status of the undocumented employees.

“We met with representatives of countries to be able to send [legal] workers abroad,” Ms Bun Eng said. “We shared experiences and knowledge to protect migrant workers from human trafficking.”

“Some of them work abroad illegally and they have encountered some problems which we are concerned about,” she added. “Some do not have documents, while others do. This is a problem the government has to continually address.”

IOM representative Kristin Palo said the origin and destination countries must solve the issues on the legality of migrant workers.

“IOM will continue to support governments in protecting migrants,” Ms Palo said.

In addition, Central who handles labour rights held a forum with 200 Kampong Thom province residents yesterday to promote safe migration.

De The Hoya , programme officer for Central, said many migrants are cheated by brokers and those working illegally abroad continue to face problems.

“We held the forum to educate people on how to safely migrate, what kind of recruitment company they should work with and which local authority should be informed,” Mr The Hoya said. “We can’t ban people from migrating to work abroad, but we can educate them on safety.”

According to the Foreign Affairs Ministry, more than 36,000 Cambodians were recruited last year to work in countries such as Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, Indonesia and China.

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