What the relevant Cambodian ministries should have done in the first place would have been to restrict or review aspects of this migration phenomenon as a whole. Neither young men nor young women are quite safe from abuse and other forms of exploitation once they will have found themselves on an isolated high-sea fishing boat or enslaved at the walled residence of their foreign employers. In recent years the nightmare tales reported of many a young Cambodian woman falling victims to brutality and abuse at the hands of their Malaysian employers in this Asean member country should have provided ample warning, but the recent agreement to allow more of them to enter the domestic maid market in Saudi Arabia - a far-flung country with whom Cambodia has little to no firm diplomatic relations, and an Islamic culture that is even more orthodox and repressive as regards human rights than is the case with Malaysia - is nothing short of baffling and inhumane. As they often say, prevention is better than cure.
These decision makers and ministers should also be asking themselves this basic question: Would I be prepared to let my sons or daughters face the same risks and elements?
Fishermen arrive at Phnom Penh International Airport after being repatriated from East Timor, where they escaped from slave-like conditions aboard a Thai fishing boat. Vireak Mai
Ministry underscores aid to citizens abroad
Wed, 29 June 2016 ppp
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs assisted in the repatriation of 196 Cambodian citizens in the first half of 2016, according to a statement released this week.
The statement followed a Post story last week that revealed a maid had fled Saudi Arabia without assistance after suffering abuse.
Among the rescued citizens were 29 women from China, mostly married to Chinese men; 57 fishermen from Indonesia; and 65 workers from Malaysia.
“The evaluation of [its] activities to help overseas workers should be based on the actual work of the ministry . . . not based on an unrelated case or one that happened through lack of communication with the ministry,” the statement reads.
Earlier this year, a domestic worker was repatriated from Saudi Arabia after her relatives contacted the Cambodian Embassy in Kuwait. Cambodia does not have an embassy in Saudi Arabia, but an MoU on domestic workers was signed between the two countries in February.