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Cambodia: Govt. plans to curb recruitment fees aiming to protect overseas migrant workers from slavery

"Cambodia to Curb Recruitment Fees in Bid to Protect Migrants from Slavery Abroad", 20 September 2019

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.

Cambodia is planning to cap hefty recruitment fees imposed by labor 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 labor abuses, activists say…

But Phnom Penh is finalizing a plan to bring Cambodia in line with Thailand’s main labor 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…

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 U.N. migration agency (IOM) estimates there are at least two million more working illegally across the country…

“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.”…