• Monday, Jul 13, 2020
  • Last Update : 06:51 pm

Cambodia to curb recruitment fees in bid to protect migrants from slavery abroad

  • Published at 01:23 pm September 19th, 2019
CAMBODIA-DAILYLIFE/
Labourers work at a construction site in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, August 21, 2019 Reuters

More than two million Cambodians are estimated to be living and working abroad - most of them in Thailand

Cambodia is planning to cap hefty recruitment fees imposed by labour brokers on people seeking jobs abroad in a bid to curb illegal migration and protect workers from modern-day slavery.

More than two million Cambodians are estimated to be living and working abroad - most of them in Thailand - where hundreds of thousands of migrant workers are undocumented due to the high costs and therefore vulnerable to labour abuses, activists say.

Cambodians who migrate to Thailand through official channels pay recruitment agencies about $650 to facilitate the move, while those who make their own way across the border spend as little as $30, said advocacy group the Mekong Migration Network.

But Phnom Penh is finalizing a plan to bring Cambodia in line with Thailand's main labour source, Myanmar, where agencies are not permitted to charge people looking for work abroad more than the equivalent of $100, according to a government official.

"Stage one is to put a limit on the fees charged by recruitment agencies," Horn Usaphea, an official at the foreign ministry, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation on the sidelines of an event in Phnom Penh this week, without giving a timeframe.

"But our ultimate goal is for zero fees, with employers and recruitment agencies to bear the costs," he added.

Capping such fees is likely to see more workers migrate legitimately, ensuring they are protected by law and entitled to social security benefits, said Jackie Pollock, an adviser with the United Nations' International Labour Organization (ILO).

Thailand has about three million migrant workers on its books but the UN migration agency (IOM) estimates there are at least two million more working illegally across the country.

Undocumented migrant workers are not only exempt from state benefits but at greater risk of being exploited or enslaved and less likely to speak out for fear of reprisals, activists say.

"In the fishing industry, for example, undocumented workers can be sold from one boat to the next," said Sa Saroeun of the Raks Thai Foundation, which works with Cambodian migrants in Thailand. "No one will know, no one will be responsible."

Thailand last year launched an overhaul of the registration process for migrant workers, granting them equal labour rights to local hires - including free healthcare and child allowances.

In the first phase of the revamp, the government aims to ensure two million legitimate migrant workers are registered afresh - a process that must be carried out by employers but paid for by workers earning about $300 a month.

Yet migrants and campaigners told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in Thailand last month that employers are inflating the registration costs - officially about $220 - trapping many in abusive workplaces as they struggle to pay off their debts.

51
50
blogger sharing button blogger
buffer sharing button buffer
diaspora sharing button diaspora
digg sharing button digg
douban sharing button douban
email sharing button email
evernote sharing button evernote
flipboard sharing button flipboard
pocket sharing button getpocket
github sharing button github
gmail sharing button gmail
googlebookmarks sharing button googlebookmarks
hackernews sharing button hackernews
instapaper sharing button instapaper
line sharing button line
linkedin sharing button linkedin
livejournal sharing button livejournal
mailru sharing button mailru
medium sharing button medium
meneame sharing button meneame
messenger sharing button messenger
odnoklassniki sharing button odnoklassniki
pinterest sharing button pinterest
print sharing button print
qzone sharing button qzone
reddit sharing button reddit
refind sharing button refind
renren sharing button renren
skype sharing button skype
snapchat sharing button snapchat
surfingbird sharing button surfingbird
telegram sharing button telegram
tumblr sharing button tumblr
twitter sharing button twitter
vk sharing button vk
wechat sharing button wechat
weibo sharing button weibo
whatsapp sharing button whatsapp
wordpress sharing button wordpress
xing sharing button xing
yahoomail sharing button yahoomail