Prime Minister Hun Sen has urged Cambodian people to work within the country and avoid being deceived by brokers who illegally send them to Thailand for work amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Please don’t be deceived by a broker. We have to work in our country. Some people have been deceived when going to Thailand via brokers. Sometimes, they have been placed in prison and sometimes they have been deported,” he said.
Mr Hun Sen’s comment came during a visit to the people affected by floods in Banteay Meanchey province yesterday.
He added that illegal border crossings could transmit COVID-19 between the two countries.
Centre for Alliance of Labour and Human Rights (CENTRAL) programme manager Khun Tharo told Khmer Times yesterday that Mr Hun Sen’s appeal is a good move, but the rule of law must be strictly applied against brokers who send migrant workers to Thailand.
He said there are two ways in which people are travelling to Thailand for work during the COVID-19 pandemic. People either try and cross the border illegally using a broker, or they try to bribe border police at border crossings.
“We can’t prevent this from happening unless police at border crossings carry out the rule of law strictly. They must find the brokers who bring migrant workers to Thailand illegally, to be accountable before the law,” he added.
Tharo said according to a survey, people migrate to Thailand mostly due to financial problems. The current floods have also been blamed as they are affecting agricultural products and economic stability.
“The debt factor makes it hard to ban them from migrating to Thailand if the government does not have a social protection policy with cash provision to support them and resolve their debt issues,” he said.
According to a CENTRAL report, from April until this month, 1,800 illegal migrant workers have been deported to the Kingdom by Thai authorities, said Tharo.