On 21 January 2016 at the Sunway Hotel, Phnom Penh, the Mekong Migration Network (MMN) in collaboration with the Cambodian Women’s Crisis Center (CWCC) organized a CSO consultation meeting as part of MMN’s current project on the roles of countries of origin in protecting migrant workers.
MMN is conducting research into best practices of origin countries and has looked specifically at lessons learnt from the experience of the Philippines and Indonesia in sending migrant workers to Hong Kong. MMN is also in the process of carrying out consultation meetings with migrant workers and returned migrants in Thailand, Cambodia, and Burma.
The meeting was attended by 25 representatives of CSOs working on labour migration and trafficking issues in Cambodia, with the purpose of sharing updates on current policy, sharing the results of MMN’s research thus far, and formulating recommendations to the Cambodian government.
Ms. Omsin Boonlert, MMN Advocacy and Research Officer, presented the results of the desk research on Cambodian labour migration policies. Mr. Sopheap Suong, Regional Manager of CWCC, presented the results of the consultation meeting held with Cambodian migrant returnees in Poipet on 12 November 2015.
Ms. Gabrielle Curtis, MMN Research Consultant, presented some highlights of key informant interviews that MMN had conducted in the previous days with representatives of the National Committee for Counter-Trafficking, the Association of Cambodian Recruitment Agencies, the International Organisation for Migration, the International Labour Organisation, and the Ministry of Labour.
Collectively, attendees discussed the issues and formulated the following recommendations to the Cambodian government:
- Strengthen implementation of sub-decree 190 and prakas and make it effective.
- Allocate national budget for migrant worker issues especially for training at sub-national levels – the provincial, district, and community level. It is very important that if a migrant worker comes to local authority, they must know how to help.
- Implement a strict monitoring mechanism for recruitment agencies and follow up.
- Monitor and punish recruitment agencies who provide sub-licenses.
- Utilise diverse means to disseminate information, such as TV, radio, public forums, schools, and posters.
- Standard contract should be implemented in Khmer as well as English, and someone must explain the terms to workers clearly, especially where they are illiterate
- Take responsibility for migrants who return with health problems, both through proper referral and coverage of costs
- Provide transportation for returnees to their homes, and conduct follow-up visits through the Ministry of Labour or Ministry of Social Affairs
- Provide particular support to migrants who return with drug addiction problems
- Explore means for migrant workers to have skills certifications or acknowledgement of work from the destination country, in order to assist them find jobs on return
The research paper will be released later this year, along with recommendations to the Burmese and Cambodian governments. In addition, MMN will hold a regional policy dialogue on the issues.