Interior Minister Sar Kheng said yesterday that authorities have failed to quell illegal border crossings by migrant workers.
Speaking at a National Anti-Human Trafficking Day meeting attended by thousands on Koh Pich, Mr Kheng said Cambodian authorities are not in full control of the country’s borders.
The minister said he recently got information that 1,000 workers were brought to Thailand by an unnamed company without legal documents.
“We do not control illegal border crossings, even when I order to close illegal checkpoints,” he said.
Last July, Mr Kheng instructed authorities at the Thai-Cambodian border to prevent Cambodian workers from entering Thailand illegally.
Chou Bun Eng, permanent vice chairman of the National Committee to Counter Human Trafficking, said that there are millions of Cambodian people working abroad, both legally and illegally.
“Some of them face arrest, detention, repatriation, loss of their salary, being sold off, and even death. These are the problems we have to keep on fighting,” she said.
According to a report from the Ministry of Interior, 90,000 Cambodian workers were deported from Thailand in the first six months of 2017, while the bodies of 500 dead Cambodians were repatriated.
They mostly died from illnesses, work injuries, and accidents.
Over the same period, 450 workers were repatriated from Malaysia, China, Indonesia, Vietnam, Laos, and Myanmar.