Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Migrants’ kids at risk: CDRI

Migrants’ kids at risk: CDRI

A young boy loads bricks into a kiln in Kandal province last year
A young boy loads bricks into a kiln in Kandal province last year. A new report suggests that children of migrant workers are more likely to stop schooling and join the labour force. Hong Menea

Migrants’ kids at risk: CDRI

Fuelled by poverty and debt, more than a quarter of Cambodian adults migrate, and, in the process, many are leaving behind their children, a new report finds.

Part of a four-year research project on child labour, the Cambodian Independent Research Institute’s The Impacts of Adult Migration on Children’s Well-Being found evidence that children left behind suffer a variety of consequences to which their peers from nonmigrating families aren’t subjected. The loss of parental supervision disrupts family life, and the absence of a breadwinner in the household may translate into day-to-day cash shortages that force children out of school and into work, according to the report.

“A high proportion (17.2 per cent) of children aged between 10 and 17 years [who were left by their migrant families] are not currently attending school,” the report says, adding that the situation is worse for girls, who are perceived to be better suited to tackling household chores and more in demand by the labour market.

Instead of attending classes, many of the children take up jobs to add to the family’s earnings in between remittances or to make up for shortfalls. Children from migrant households are 27 per cent more likely to have income-earning work, and for child labourers who were already employed before the adults left, their burden increases; migration is likely to add 7.4 hours on children’s workload per week, according to the report.

“Most of the people in the village left for Thailand to seek work. When they left, they left their children with parents or other relatives unless the children could work” said Ban Sareap, 40, a resident of the heavily migrant-populated Moung Russey district in Battambang.

But migration experts said the alternative, kids migrating with the parents, poses an equally poor option.

“It’s not a good idea for children to go with parents, as they will have less access to education, maybe also have to work and will likely be living in temporary and hazardous conditions,” said Moeun Tola, labour program officer at the Cambodian Legal Education Center. “There is a saying in Cambodia, when you jump into water you meet with crocodiles, but when you jump out to land, you meet with tigers… The choice of leaving or taking children to migrate is like that, there is no good choice.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Prince Norodom Ranariddh passes away at 77

    Prince Norodom Ranariddh, the second son of the late King Father Norodom Sihanouk and former First Prime Minister of Cambodia, has passed away in France at the age of 77. “Samdech Krom Preah Norodom Ranariddh has passed away this morning in France just after 9am Paris-time,”

  • Cambodia purchases 4 million Molnupiravir tablets

    Cambodia has arranged for the purchase of four million US-made Molnupiravir pills – enough to treat 100,000 Covid-19 patients – even though the current rate of daily infections in Cambodia remains low. The medicine will be distributed to state hospitals, pharmacies and private clinics, according to the Samdech

  • Rise in planned flights lifts travel hopes

    Six airlines have applied to resume flights in December, while two others have put in for additional flights and routes, according to State Secretariat of Civil Aviation (SSCA) head Mao Havannall on November 29. These account for 43 new weekly domestic and international flights in December, up 16

  • General’s gun smuggling ring busted

    The Military Police sent six military officers to court on November 22 to face prosecution for possession of 105 illegal rifles and arms smuggling, while investigators say they are still hunting down additional accomplices. Sao Sokha, deputy commander of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces and commander of

  • Is Cambodia’s travel sector in for another cheerless holiday season?

    The travel and tourism sector was heaving back to life as borders started to reopen, promising a festive vibe for the holidays and New Year. But Omicron and other Covid-related issues are threatening to close the year on a bleak note ‘Seems [like] Covid-19 won’

  • Cambodia, Thailand to discuss border reopening

    Cambodian authorities from provinces along the Cambodia-Thailand border will meet with Thai counterparts to discuss reopening border checkpoints to facilitate travel, transfer of products and cross-border trade between the two countries. Banteay Meanchey provincial deputy governor Ly Sary said on November 22 that the provincial administration