Workers face sex abuse: unions

Mom Kunthear / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
Union representatives say women still suffer workplace abuse and often don’t want to report it. KT/Mai Vireak

Leaders of the Cambodian Labor Confederation have urged authorities to take action against employers who harass, threaten and use violence against female garment workers.
However, they said women now understand more about the law.
At a ceremony to celebrate the 106th International Women’s Day yesterday, attended by more than 300 garment workers, confederation president Ath Thorn said workers, especially women, were still being threatened, harassed and having their rights abused.
“This year, we celebrate International Women’s Day with the theme ‘Stop violence against women in the labor sector’ because we see that female workers still face threats in their job and especially sexual harassment,” he said.
Mr. Thorn said he had seen a copy of an International Labor Organization report which had not yet been published.
“The abuse of freedom and sexual harassment has increased, but violence against workers seemed not to have increased.”
Heng Chenda, the gender committee president of the labor confederation, said female workers were often abused by the company or factory management who used rude words, touched their bodies, harassed them sexually or raped them.
“They are threatened not to tell anyone, if they do they will be fired,” she said.
“If these workers stay quiet, employers or managers will increase their wage or give them money on top of their wage. These are the problems that we hear from the workers.
“Last year, I got 38 cases in which workers filed complaints to me related to domestic violence, sexual harassment and other abuse,” Ms. Chenda said.
“I think there are more than this but they do not dare to speak out because they are scared, shy and do not trust the legal system to deliver justice for them.”
Kaing Monika, the deputy secretary-general of the Garment Manufacturers Association, could not be reached for comment.
Mr. Thorn also demanded that the government increase the minimum wage to the garment workers to $250 per month.

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