Image reproduced from Human Trafficking News
The "PM" and some of his lieutenants in their customary attire.
Op-Ed by School of Vice
Crude or not, this ban maybe the best solution/action to take at this juncture. I assume this is not a permanent ban, but there is no reason why it should not stay that way until all official parties come up with the right strategies and approaches to this cruel saga.
Vietnam appears to have a much better arrangement for its overseas maids: they are required to travel or move about in groups, for example; a strategy that affords these maids some protection from their potentially predatory employers.
It remains the responsibility of the Cambodian government to educate and provide the maids with basic legal and practical safety nets or protective mechanisms in this context. I can't help noticing that it took Ms Mu Sochua's personal intervention at a coffee break from a parliamentary session to persuade the Cambodian PM to issue the ban! Of course, the Prime Minister of the country may have far more pressing agendas to manage, and cannot be assumed to keep himself abreast of every social issues. Nevertheless, this episode reflects badly on his administration and on the Labour Ministry who, I imagine carries direct responsibility over this matter, not to mention the numerous ‘advisors’ attached to the PM and his Ministers.
The crucial point to note here is the lack of dynamism and independent movement or initiative in policy and its implementation within the entire apparatus of governing administration leaving ministers and governmental departments little room for manoeuvre, especially when faced with matters in need of urgent responses. The minister in question may have an idea on how to tackle any particular arising issue, yet assuming that his/her strategies are the kind of remedies called for by that issue does not necessarily follow that his proposals and requests for action would meet with higher authorities’ approval. In short, the Minister in question is not there to exercise devolved authority or ‘delegated power’. As a political appointee, he/she is in the same boat as all other party officials and judges, sheepishly conditioned to await orders from superiors who in turn passively pass on those orders they receive from higher commands above them. When you trace all these directives and commands to their source, you inevitably or more often than not find yourself (like Ms Mu Sochua has) tête-à-tête with the PM. Of course, the PM himself may be subjected to influences and forces that only he is in a position to know. The rest of us can make our educated guess as to who these mysterious forces are, and I am not referring to those loyalists and personal aids he has accumulated around his person for personal protection, which judging by their sheer scale in number would suggest that the PM has a far more formidable foe or threat to contend with than the politely noisy but unarmed Opposition.
As to the country’s need for a more progressive, dynamic and functional governing system, I fail to see how the existing administrative apparatus - a legacy stretching back to the PRK foundation that was instituted by the Vietnamese to extend their administrative and political control over the country – would serve to advance today’s social and political agendas in any fundamental, substantive sense, except the certain fulfilment of the hidden agendas of those mysterious forces who wield and exploit that administrative tool for their own ends. This is why every time I mention the title “PM” or “government”, I feel I am doing no more than reinforcing the deceit and cosmetic veneer or manipulations put over by a ruling regime or party who is well verse in the art of spurious make-over in pursuance of its own present and long term political self-preservation. The deployment of such terms and titles in Cambodia’s political climate is in fact a grave travesty of democratic principles. The fact that some of us still persists on using these terms in full knowledge of this truth betrays our incurable, inherent optimism as well as our very inability or refusal to give up on a dream of a morally better world.
As for recruitment agencies operating throughout the country, it is imperative that stringent safety measures are introduced to prevent fraud and tragic consequences that have been known to damage many innocent lives so far. The recruitment agencies’ primary motive is to maximise commercial transactions, and where the labour market for their recruitment is rich in official corruption and poor in legal norms or procedures, the scope for commercial exploitation and profiteering at expense of human and social costs is inevitably greater for these predatory enterprises, among which those overseas student recruiting agents or agencies must be included.