Concern mounts over workers crossing Thai borders illegally


Concern mounts over workers crossing Thai borders illegally

The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training yesterday raised deep concerns about Cambodians crossing the borders illegally to go to Thailand in search of job.

Heng Sour, spokesman for the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training, said yesterday, “You cannot go and work or do business in Thailand by just crossing the border or having a valid passport. Passport or other travel documents are not enough to work or live in a foreign country.”

“No matter what  individuals or organisations claim, the real situation is that without the intervention of relevant Cambodian institutions, workers who cross the border into Thailand illegally could be severely punished by the Thai authorities,” he added.

Sour reminded the workers that a labour or work visa issued by the Thai authorities is essential to work or live in Thailand, adding that more than 10,000 Cambodian workers go to work in Thailand legally each month.

“However, we have observed that some of our Cambodians cross the border illegally into Thailand on a regular basis, putting themselves at high risk,” Sour said.

He also said that the Cambodian Embassy in Thailand, Cambodian Consulate General in Sa Kaeo province and the ministry are in constant contact with the Thai side to not blacklist Cambodian workers and citizens who enter Thailand without proper documents.

Meanwhile, according to a report released by Centre for Labour Alliances and Human Rights (CENTRAL) yesterday the arrests of Cambodian workers crossing the border to work in Thailand has increased significantly in the first four months of the year.

The report noted that there were 25 cases, of which 1,297 Cambodian migrant workers were victims, of whom more than 700 were women and more than 60 were children.

Dy The Hoya,  a programme officer  of labour rights group Central, said yesterday, “Through the survey and data collection by Central, we found that in the four months from January to April, more than 800 workers had been arrested while returning to work after the Khmer New Year.”

The reports also said that many Cambodian workers have been detained in cramped buildings and they are handcuffed, he added.

“The arrests and detentions are not just a case of violation of their basic rights and freedom.

“It also negatively affects the economy as well as their families due to lack of income, rising debt and the impact on mental health,” he added.

According to him, Cambodian migrant workers make a significant contribution of more than $2 billion in remittances in a year, contributing to the development of the nation.

“I call on the government and competent authorities to intervene and find a solution with the Thai side to release the detained workers,” he said.

He also appealed to government to protect the rights of Cambodian workers to be safe when travelling to work in a foreign country.

The Hoya added that the government must also facilitate the legalisation of Cambodian workers who have lost their legal status or who do not have legal documents so that they can be protected from unwanted arrests in accordance with the law and human rights principles.

Source: Khmer Times

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