Poverty Forces Children to Leave Home and Find Jobs Anywhere – Monday, 15.12.2008

Posted on 17 December 2008. Filed under: Week 591 |

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 591

“With the hands trying to pull and the legs trying to walk ahead, to drag a heavy cart with insufficient energy, drops of sweat flow across a face that is covered with a cotton scarf and with a hat over the head to shield off the heat of the sun. This is serious hard work – but when the hat and the cotton scarf are not covering the person, one recognizes that she is a teenage girl working in a brick kiln. Because of the poverty of her family, she decided to leave her hometown to work in a suburb of Phnom Penh. Because of such poverty, some children are forced to leave their home to find jobs in cities in order to earn money and send it to their parents and families at home.

“The girl who was dragging a cart with bricks to be put into a kilns said that she comes from Prey Veng to work in a brick kiln; she no longer goes to school. She said, ‘Sometimes I carry clay, sometimes I have to pound clay, and sometimes I drag carts. It is difficult to carry clay, it hurts my chest. If I have money, I send it to my mom to buy food.’

“Another girl who was cleaning up garbage in front of a house, selling rice soup, said that she was 13 years old, and she was sent by her mother from Kompong Chhnang to work in this house and earn Riel 70,000 per month [approx. US$17.50].

“This girl added that working here, she can rest three days per year – only during the Chinese new year. She said, ‘My mom comes to Phnom Penh to take the money. I came to sell soup. I get up at 6:00 a.m. and go to bed at 10:00 p.m. Sometimes I am very sleepy.’

“A woman from Prey Veng, who was waiting for her children in front of a brick kiln along National Road 6A, said that she always comes to take Riel 200,000 [approx. US$50] from the children every month.

“She continued to say that because of having no land for rice farming, she sent two children to work here to seek money to support her three other small children at home. She added, ‘We are poor and it is difficult, at home we cannot do rice farming, and we owe more and more debt; whenever there is work, I bring my children to work.’

“A boy, whose name is Sarak, 14, who comes from Kampot, washing cars around the Phsar Kandal market, said that because his parents at his hometown are poor, he had to stop going to school since the time he was in grade 3, in order to work as a car washer and now earn Riel 150,000 [approx. US$38] per month, and send it to his parents at home. He said, ‘Because we have no money, I had to find a job to earn money to buy rice and food.’

“The director of the Department of Child Labor, Mr. Veng Hieng, said that the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training has so far removed 22,000 children working in critical situations who can easily get harmed, such as working at brick kilns, salt fields, and as domestic servants, and provided them with the opportunity to go to school and to learn different skills. As for the parents of those children, the ministry offers them different jobs.

“Mr. Veng Hieng added, ‘We provide opportunities, both with materials aid and with some money, for those children to go to school, and if their parents are poor, we help to train them and provide them money as a loan to create jobs. If the children are too old to go to school any more, if they are over 15 years old, we train them in skills, and after the training, we provide them with certificates and contact enterprises or factories to accept them to work. For children, who can create their own jobs, if they can find their own jobs we grant them materials, because some children do not want to go to school. For example sewing – after we have trained them, they can also work as tailors at home, and if this is not possible, they can work in factories.

“The National Project Coordinator for the Elimination Child Labor, ILO-IPEC, Mr. Un Vuthy, said that according to a nationwide study, there are 250,000 children involved in critical forms of labor in seven provinces, and there are 16 kinds of critical jobs that children do.
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“Mr. Un Vuthy added, ‘Children in critical situations of child labor are those working on salt fields, working at sea and fishing, at brick kilns, as domestic servants, at Poipet working as porters, and at rubber plantations.’

Note:

You can get access here to the following book – but also to other related studies:

Experiences and lessons learned on child labor monitoring: rubber, salt and fishing sectors in Cambodia – by Theng Chhorvirith, Seang Meng and Sao Kosal, Phnom Penh: ILO and Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training, 2005, vii, 82 p.]

“To protect children, this organization strengthens policies and promotes the understanding about child labor. It also intervenes directly, which includes to remove children from certain places of work, offering education, including training in professional skills, as well as prevention, when children are in danger to fall into child labor situations. Another problem related to child labor is trafficking.

“The total number of children involved in work in these seven provinces is 1,500,000. The children are between 5 and 17 years old.

“The director of the Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights – LICADHO, Ms. Pong Chiv Kek [also known as Dr. Kek Galabru] said that not sending children to school is against the Constitution of Cambodia, and it is against the international UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which says that states should ‘make primary education compulsory and available free to all.’

“Mr. Veng Hieng said that the ministry, cooperating with non government organizations, sees that the number of children working in critical forms of labor declines, because their parents understand the importance of their children going to school.

“He suggested to children in hard work, ‘If those children want to go to school, they can contact the Ministry of Labor or the Education Department of their province, because we have much money, provided by the state for priority groups for the Education Departments, especially for the national plan Education for All. If there are cases of child labor, contact the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training!” Khmer Sthapana, Vol.1, #158, 14-15.12.2008

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 15 December 2008

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1820, 14-15.12.2008

  • 25 Royal Family Members Are Assigned Positions in the Royal Palace
  • The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia Decides to Hold the Hearing of Duch [the former chief of Tuol Sleng Prison] on 15 and 16 January 2009
  • Phnom Penh Traffic Policeman Hit a Traveler with a Stick [on his head – the traffic policeman escapes – Phnom Penh]
  • The United Nations: Somali Pirates Earn More Than US$120 Million from Kidnapping Ships in 2008
  • The United States Will Not Provides Oil to North Korea if North Korea Does Not Allow the UN International Atomic Energy Agency to Check Their Facilities


Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.2, #304, 14-16.12.2008

  • [A highranking official of Funcinpec] Lu Laysreng: [Funcinpec Secretary-General] Nhek Bun Chhay Cannot Become the President of Funcinpec, If There Is No Permission from Me


Khmer Sthapana, Vol.1, #158, 14-15.12.2008

  • Poverty Forces Children to Leave Home and Find Jobs Anywhere
  • Relevant Officials Encourage to Promote Safety of Khmer Migrant Workers [at their places of work]
  • Phnom Penh Governor, Mr. Kep Chuktema, Threatens to Remove Incompetent District Governors
  • Farmers Planting Corn and Potato in Pailin Ask the Government to Help Find Markets [because the prices are now cheap if they sell their yields to Thai merchants]


Koh Santepheap, Vol.41, #6525, 15.12.2008

  • Mine Clearance and the Setting of Border Markers at the Preah Vihear Temple Is a Priority – but It Is Stalled because of Waiting for Thailand to Hold a Cabinet Meeting
  • More Than 100 Villagers Are Examined after the Appearance of Bird Flu [Kandal Stung, Kandal]
  • Unpleasant Father Raped His [11-year-old] Daughter Five Times and His Wife Filed a Complaint to Let the Law Punish Him [Kompong Cham]


Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #3639, 15.12.2008

  • Vendors at the Poipet Border Crossing Point Tell Sao Bunrith Not to Be Corrupt like Pich Saran [who was recently replaced by Mr. Sao Bunrith at the Poipet immigration police]


Rasmei Angkor, Vol.15, #1391, 15.12.2008

  • The David Construction Company Constructed 35 Road Sections with No Quality in Tuol Kork [Phnom Penh]


Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4768, 14-15.12.2008

  • There Are Only 2,723 Complaints against Khmer Rouge Leaders [according to the Victims’ Unit of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal]

Have a look at the last editorial – you can access it directly from the main page of the Mirror.

And please recommend us also to your colleagues and friends.

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