Employment Website to Reduce Trafficking

Pav Suy / Khmer Times No Comments Share:

The Open Institute yesterday launched Bong Pheak, a new employment services website with sponsorship from USAID, as a platform to help both low-skilled and unskilled workers in four sectors who have been hindered by a lack of information.
Unlike other recruitment agencies, Bongpheak.com was established to reduce information barriers to unskilled and low-skilled workers in the manufacturing, construction, hospitality and security sectors to ensure they do not fall prey to human trafficking.
Javier Sola, the program director of Open Institute, said at the launch yesterday that the idea behind the website was to help uninformed overseas migrant workers find a job in country.
“What we are presenting today is an attempt to solve the problem of disconnection between Cambodian workers looking for work and employers looking for workers and see how much of the problem can be solved,” he said.
“And by doing that, we hope to reduce uninformed traveling to other countries and putting [oneself] in danger of trafficking in person.”
Soun Ry, once a security guard at the KV garment factory in Kampong Speu province, said he had been unemployed since the factory went bankrupt in June and could not find another job because of a lack of skills and information about employment.
“I have been unemployed since June 10. I don’t know where to find a job because I am unskilled and I don’t have connections with family or friends who can bring me to work with them,” he said.
When told of the new website, Mr. Ry said he would take a look using his child’s smartphone.
Companies that wish to post job announcements on the website first need to register their information and wait for approval to ensure the company is real. In English, Khmer and Chinese, the website offers jobseekers greater options outside their own networks.
For jobseekers without internet or devices to connect to it, friends or family members can register them using the potential employee’s phone number and Bong Pheak will communicate job offers to them through automatic phone calls.
Answering a question about potential scammers imitating employers, Mr. Sola said the website was unique and took the Open Institute years to launch and was therefore not worth it for scammers to try.
Sean Callahan, the deputy mission director of USAID Cambodia, welcomed the Open Institute’s move and encouraged disseminating news of the service.
“I encourage all of you in your roles at NGOs, in the private sector and the government to promote this platform. Get the message out there, through Facebook, through meetings in villages and towns. Not just here in Cambodia, not just the people in Phnom Penh,” he said.
“We need to use this to help them find safe employment here in Cambodia. They can find work near their family and community, so they are less likely to become victims of human trafficking, less likely to migrate,” he added, saying there were nearly one million Cambodian workers registered in Thailand not including those undocumented.
Ran Serey Leakhena, the deputy secretary-general of the National Committee for Counter Trafficking in Persons, said through her assistant that migration overseas was in part caused by abuses inside the country.
“Domestic employers make no assurances against abuses of labor and wages which happen constantly, leading to the flow of labor to foreign countries without clear management, thus constantly victimizing the people. The government is still trying to solve this today,” she said.
She added that the new website will share information between employers and employees and will help the government increase employment within the country.

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