A gathering of some 50 youths from five different provinces met in Phnom Penh last week to discuss the problems of forced migration and its dangers. The Community Youth Network leaders came from provinces where migrant work is common, to discuss how to make it safer.
The youths hope to become volunteers to disseminate information through their communities, to prevent labor trafficking and other forms of exploitation.
Yarn Roumdoul, a youth leader from Prey Veng province, said about 70 percent of the people in her home community have migrated to neighboring countries for work, seeking a better wage. But she said the media should do a better job warning people of the dangers.
Yet Sokha, program manager at the Khmer Youth Association, told VOA Khmer that informing youth leaders can help them advise people back home. In some cases, when informed properly, people decide not to migrate, she said.
In recent weeks, some 200 workers have been rescued from forced labor aboard fishing vessels off the coast of Indonesia. Many have elected not to talk to the press, said Chou Bun Eng, a secretary of state for the Ministry of Labor and vice president of the National Committee To Combat Trafficking.
But youth leaders like Phal Chomrern, from Koh Kong province, say they should tell their stories, which can help other people avoid their fate. “If 5,000 people migrate per day, it can help 5,000 people avoid being trafficked and abused.”