Cambodia: The Ministry of Labour urges authorities to use the Criminal Code to prosecute brick kiln owners who use child labour

Author: Savi Khorn, The Phnom Penh Post, Published on: 11 June 2019

"Criminal Code to be used in brick kiln child labour cases", 11 June 2019

The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training has urged all relevant departments to use the Criminal Code to prosecute brick kiln owners who use child labour. And the owner of a Kandal facility at which a young girl lost her arm will be among the first to face criminal charges.

…, nine-year-old Chheng Srey Pheak suffered horrific injuries and lost her right arm to a machine in an accident, with the owner of the Kandal province brick factory originally only looking at a fine for employing someone under 15 years of age.

… The ministry’s guidance on prohibiting children from entering brick production sites, …, said the use of child labour at brick factories should be treated as a criminal offence. Brick kilns must display large and clearly visible signs instructing minors not to enter the facility, with owners who allow children onto their sites also to face criminal charges.

The use of debt slavery – an infringement on the freedom of workers – is to be rigorously prohibited and brick factory owners must be vigilant to ensure children do not enter their sites… Ministry of Labour spokesman Heng Sour told … that he did not have figures for child victims of accidents at brick kilns. However, he warned that all owners who failed to comply with the ministry’s new instructions would face legal action…

Am Sam Ath, a monitor with human rights group Licadho, said his organisation had found that one child had died for every five working at brick factories as of 2002. They had lost arms to machines in accidents…

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