Bid to protect migrant workers in Thailand

Source: Khmer Times

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Migrant workers listen to an NGO worker.

Cambodia will soon host a meeting with Laos and Myanmar to discuss ways of protecting workers in Thailand.

Cambodia’s National Committee for Anti-Human Trafficking yesterday met to prepare for the meeting with Laos and Myanmar.

Chou Bun Eng, chair of the anti-human trafficking committee, said Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar all sent workers to Thailand and a system needed to be created to protect them.

“The three countries will meet together to find a way to protect our migrants in Thailand because we have a lot of workers there,” she said.

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In January, Human Rights Watch released a report showing that Cambodia migrant fishermen in Thailand were still subject to forced labour despite efforts to clean up the industry.

Thailand’s multibillion-dollar seafood sector came under scrutiny in recent years after investigations showed widespread slavery, trafficking and violence on fishing boats and in onshore processing facilities.

According to the annual report of the Foreign Affairs Ministry, 986 Cambodian workers were repatriated last year after facing difficult or abusive work situations.

Of those workers, 382 were returned from Malaysia, 288 from Thailand, 171 from Vietnam, 53 from China, 49 from Laos, 23 from Indonesia, 12 from Japan, five from Singapore and three from Myanmar.

The report added that between 1,000 and 12,000 Cambodian workers were deported each week from Thailand via the Poipet international border in Banteay Meanchey province last year, after Thai authorities arrested them for crossing over or working illegally in Thailand.

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