A total of 16 Cambodians, including three teen girls, have been or will soon be repatriated after the Kingdom’s embassies worked with Vietnamese, Saudi Arabian, Thai and Chinese officials to return them.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation spokesman Chum Sunry said on Monday that his ministry intervened to help 13 Cambodians who were cheated by brokers who promised to arrange for their work or marriage.
Seven women – from Kompong Cham, Kompong Chhnang, Kratie, Takeo, Battambang and Phnom Penh – were sent to China to work illegally by unscrupulous brokers, he said.
The Cambodian Embassy in China provided places to live and food while they awaited travel documents to return home. They arrived in Phnom Penh on July 4 and 5.
Four others were deceived by brokers who were to arrange marriages with Chinese men. They hailed from Kandal, Kompong Cham and Tbong Khmum.
The four travelled from Cambodia to Vietnam late last month in a bid to cross into China but were stopped by Vietnamese authorities. The Cambodian Embassy provided accommodation and food before returning them to the Kingdom between July 4 and July 7.
Also, the Cambodian Consul in the Chinese city of Xian helped one woman return home after officials there arrested her for living in the country illegally. She said a broker had lied and there was no job for her in the country. She returned home on July 3.
A woman working as a maid was miserable in Saudi Arabia, Sunry said. The Cambodian Embassy to the United Arab Emirates helped facilitate her return on July 4.
Meanwhile, three teenage girls aged between 13 and 16, from Banteay Meanchey province, were found illegally working in a Thai factory after being trafficked through the Poipet International Checkpoint.
The Cambodian Embassy and Thai officials are working to see they are returned home safely.
Last week, The Post reported the repatriation of 14 Cambodians living in China and Malaysia.
Moeun Tola, executive director for the Center for Alliance of Labor and Human Rights, could not be reached on Monday.
However, last week, he told The Post that while he was happy the Foreign Affairs Ministry was helping vulnerable Cambodians, he expressed hope that the government would educate people on the dangers so that they wouldn’t get themselves in precarious situations to begin with.
“The deceptions still continue to happen. Do we have strategies to prevent them from happening again? The punishment for brokers is not strong either. And only minor brokers get punished,” he said on July 2.