18 February 2015, The Phnom Penh Post
Responding to parliament’s order to investigate allegations against a recruitment agency with a record of mistreating its workers, the Ministry of Labour dispatched a team today to meet with a group of defrauded labourers.
Thirty-six would-be migrants in Kampong Thom claim licensed agency AP TSE & C charged them $300 each under the auspices of providing legal work in Thailand within two months, a worker representative said.
The offer and money were exchanged in July, but workers say, job prospects never emerged.
“We received the letter from the National Assembly and are facilitating an investigation,” said Ministry of Labour spokesman Heng Sour. “If the company has really neglected our workers and failed to send them to Thailand, then we must request they compensate fully.”
The ministry’s jump to action on the Kampong Thom complaint reflects a dramatic turnaround from typical disregard workers and rights groups report encountering when bringing recruitment woes to the government.
“The recruiters tend to have powerful owners with strong connections to government officials,” said Chan Naron of anti-trafficking group Chab Dai. “Even when we have gone with clients to the Anti-Human Trafficking Police, when the officers hear some companies’ names they say, ‘Oh, this will be very difficult to solve.’”