Child Labor and Forced Labor Reports

Cambodia

Alcoholic Beverages
Alcoholic Beverages
Child Labor Icon
Bricks
Bricks
Child Labor Icon
Manioc/Cassava
Manioc/Cassava
Child Labor Icon
Fish
Fish
Child Labor Icon
Meat
Meat
Child Labor Icon
Rubber
Rubber
Child Labor Icon
Salt
Salt
Child Labor Icon
Shrimp
Shrimp
Child Labor Icon
Sugarcane
Sugarcane
Child Labor Icon
Textiles
Textiles
Child Labor Icon
Timber
Timber
Child Labor Icon
Tobacco
Tobacco
Child Labor Icon
Cambodia
2018 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor:

Moderate Advancement

In 2018, Cambodia made a moderate advancement in efforts to eliminate the worst forms of child labor. The government issued a Royal Decree authorizing the National Committee on Child Labor, within the Cambodian National Council for Children, to begin operations. In addition, the labor inspectorate revamped its factory inspection questionnaire to align with the ILO Better Factories Cambodia questionnaire. Moreover, the government institutionalized a counter trafficking in persons training curriculum for the Cambodian National Police Academy. However, children in Cambodia engage in the worst forms of child labor, including in forced labor in brickmaking, as well as in commercial sexual exploitation, sometimes as a result of human trafficking. Due to challenges in accessing basic education and the absence of a compulsory education requirement, children are vulnerable to involvement in the worst forms of child labor. Insufficient resources also hamper the labor inspectorate's capacity to enforce child labor laws, especially in rural areas where the majority of child laborers work.

Children in Cambodia engage in the worst forms of child labor, including in forced labor in brickmaking, as well as in commercial sexual exploitation, sometimes as a result of human trafficking. (1-3) Table 1 provides key indicators on children's work and education in Cambodia.


Table 1. Statistics on Children’s Work and Education

Children

Age

Percent

Working (% and population)

5 to 14

8.1 (236,831)

Working children by sector

5 to 14

 

Agriculture

 

81.9

Industry

 

8.0

Services

 

10.1

Attending School (%)

5 to 14

81.6

Combining Work and School (%)

7 to 14

6.1

Primary Completion Rate (%)

 

89.6

Source for primary completion rate: Data from 2017, published by UNESCO Institute for Statistics, 2019. (4)
Source for all other data: International Labor Organization's analysis of statistics from Socio-Economic Survey (CSES), 2014. (5)

Based on a review of available information, Table 2 provides an overview of children's work by sector and activity.


Table 2. Overview of Children’s Work by Sector and Activity

Sector/Industry

Activity

Agriculture

Fishing, including deep-sea† and night fishing† (6-11)

Peeling shrimp and shucking crabs (10,12)

Production of tobacco, cassava, rubber, and rice (7,11,13)

Growing, cutting, tying, carrying, and spraying pesticides† on sugarcane (11,14-16)

Logging† for the production of timber (8,11)

Making bricks,† including feeding clay into brickmaking machines, removing wood fuel from trucks and feeding to brickmaking machines, drying bricks, transporting bricks to the oven,† and loading bricks onto and off of trucks (1,6,8,13,17-20)

Production of salt (13)

Industry

Construction,† including operating transportation equipment† (6,8,11,21)

Production of textiles, including bleaching,† dyeing,† and finishing with chemicals;† garments; and footwear (6,22-25)

Production of alcoholic beverages† (6,8)

Work in slaughterhouses† for the production of meat† (6,8)

Manufacturing of wood and metal† products (6,13)

Services

Domestic work (6,9)

Work as security guards† and in entertainment,† including as bartenders,† masseurs,† dancers,† and waiters† (6)

Street work, including begging, vending, scavenging, collecting garbage, and exploited in orphanages to solicit funds from tourists (9,11,13,21,26,27)

Work as garbage pickers in dumpsites (11,28)

Categorical Worst Forms of Child Labor‡

Commercial sexual exploitation, sometimes as a result of human trafficking (9,13,29)

Street vending, sometimes as a result of human trafficking (8,9,26,30)

Use in illicit activities, including drug trafficking (21)

Forced labor in the production of bricks (1,21,31)

† Determined by national law or regulation as hazardous and, as such, relevant to Article 3(d) of ILO C. 182.
‡ Child labor understood as the worst forms of child labor per se under Article 3(a)–(c) of ILO C. 182.

Children are trafficked domestically, from rural to urban areas, and internationally, to countries such as Thailand and Vietnam, for commercial sexual exploitation. (3,9,24)

In Cambodian brick factories, some children engage in forced labor, including in dangerous conditions, to offset family debt to employers. (3,11,13,31,32) The rapid growth in the construction industry, particularly in Phnom Penh, has increased the demand for bricks, fueling child labor and debt bondage. (3,32,33) Compounded by failed harvests resulting from droughts, farmers who are in debt sell their debt to brick kiln owners, placing their families into situations of hereditary debt bondage until the debts are repaid. (3,31-33)

A worrying trend is the emergence of online sexual exploitation of children (OSEC) within Cambodia. (11) An NGO-funded survey indicated that, although in nascent stages, the issue of OSEC in Cambodia is increasing. (11)

Although the Education Law establishes free basic education, children may be required to pay school-related fees, such as for building maintenance, which are prohibitive for some families. (13,21,35,36) Other barriers to education include limited transportation to schools in remote areas, lack of drinking water and toilet facilities in some schools, language barriers, and an insufficient number of teachers. These barriers particularly affect ethnic minority children and children with disabilities. (8,13,37)

Cambodia has ratified all key international conventions concerning child labor (Table 3).


Table 3. Ratification of International Conventions on Child Labor

Convention

Ratification

ILO C. 138, Minimum Age

ILO C. 182, Worst Forms of Child Labor

UN CRC

UN CRC Optional Protocol on Armed Conflict

UN CRC Optional Protocol on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography

Palermo Protocol on Trafficking in Persons

The government has established laws and regulations related to child labor (Table 4). However, gaps exist in Cambodia’s legal framework to adequately protect children from the worst forms of child labor, including a minimum age for work and prohibiting the commercial sexual exploitation of children.


Table 4. Laws and Regulations on Child Labor

Standard

Meets International Standards

Age

Legislation

Minimum Age for Work

No

15

Article 177 of the Labor Law (38)

Minimum Age for Hazardous Work

Yes

18

Articles 173 and 177 of the Labor Law; Regulation on the Prohibition of Hazardous Child Labor; Articles 339–340 of the Penal Code (38-40)

Identification of Hazardous Occupations or Activities Prohibited for Children

Yes

 

Article 2 of the Regulation on the Prohibition of Hazardous Child Labor (39)

Prohibition of Forced Labor

Yes

 

Articles 15–16 of the Labor Law; Articles 10, 12, 15–17, and 19 of the Law on Suppression of Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation; Article 80 of Law on Juvenile Justice (38,41,42)

Prohibition of Child Trafficking

Yes

 

Articles 10, 12, 15–17, and 19 of the Law on Suppression of Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation (41)

Prohibition of Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children

No

 

Articles 15, 28, 33–37, and 41 of the Law on Suppression of Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation; Articles 284, 289, and 346 of the Penal Code (40,41)

Prohibition of Using Children in Illicit Activities

Yes

 

Article 345 of the Penal Code; Articles 3 and 47 of the Law on Control of Drugs (40,43)

Minimum Age for Voluntary State Military Recruitment

Yes

18

Article 42 of the Law on General Statutes for the Military Personnel of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (44)

Prohibition of Compulsory Recruitment of Children by (State) Military

Yes

 

The Law on General Statutes for the Military Personnel of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (44)

Prohibition of Military Recruitment by Non-state Armed Groups

No

   

Compulsory Education Age

No

   

Free Public Education

Yes

 

Article 31 of the Education Law (36)

In May 2018, the MOLVT issued a regulation that provided clear definitions of household work and set the minimum age for household work to 18. However, the regulation does not specify rights for household workers who are employed by their relatives. (11,45)

Although the Labor Code prohibits work by children under age 15, the law does not apply to children outside of formal employment relationships, which does not conform to international standards that require all children be protected under the law establishing a minimum age for work. (39) While MOLVT’s regulation on household work extended minimum age protections to domestic workers, children participating in other forms of work outside of formal employment relationships are still not protected under existing minimum age laws. (37,38,46-48). Suggested amendments to the Labor Law would ensure that the application of the minimum age for admission to all types of work outside of an employment relationship, including self-employment is enforced; however, the Government of Cambodia has put on hold any drafting of amendments to the Labor Law until 2020. (20)

The government plans to research the impact of applying minimum working age requirements to the informal sector. (48)

Laws do not sufficiently prohibit commercial sexual exploitation of children, as the use or offering of a child for pornographic performances is not criminally prohibited. In addition, laws do not prohibit the recruitment of children under age 18 into non-state armed groups. (21,40)

Education is free, but not compulsory, through grade nine. (36,48) The lack of compulsory schooling makes children under age 15 particularly vulnerable to child labor because they are not required to be in school but are not yet legally permitted to work. (36,38,48) Additionally, research has shown that children living in provinces bordering Thailand are at a higher risk of dropping out of school, in large part due to poverty and parents migrating to Thailand for work, leaving children at home and requiring them to drop out of school to find work. (49)

The government has established institutional mechanisms for the enforcement of laws and regulations on child labor (Table 5). However, gaps exist within the authority of the MOLVT that may hinder adequate enforcement of their child labor laws.


Table 5. Agencies Responsible for Child Labor Law Enforcement

Organization/Agency

Role

National Committee on Countering Child Labor (NCCCL), Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training (MOLVT)

Enforces child-related provisions of the Labor Law, and trains Commune Committees for Women and Children that oversee local child labor monitoring systems. (50) Includes 24 MOLVT interdepartmental inspection teams. (51) The NCCL is not dependent on MOLVT for funds. (11) This agency was active during the reporting period. (20)

Cambodian National Police Anti-Human Trafficking and Juvenile Protection Department, Ministry of the Interior

Enforces laws against human trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation of children, in collaboration with municipal and provincial anti-human trafficking and juvenile protection offices. Commanded by the Ministry of the Interior. (21,52) Fields complaints about human trafficking, which can be filed through the anti-human trafficking hotline. (29) This agency was active during the reporting period. (20)

Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans, and Youth Rehabilitation (MOSAVY)

Refers victims of child labor to NGOs for services. Operates the Poipet Transit Center to identify children at risk of being trafficked or children who have been trafficked. (3) This agency was active during the reporting period. (20)

During the reporting period, the Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans, and Youth Rehabilitation (MOSAVY) promulgated guidelines on "Minimum Standards on Residential Care for Victims of Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation," and distributed them to shelters and other relevant stakeholders. These guidelines served to address the management of residential care facilities, as well as the care given for victims of human trafficking and sexual exploitation. (3)

Labor Law Enforcement
In 2018, labor law enforcement agencies in Cambodia took actions to combat child labor (Table 6). However, gaps exist within the authority of the MOLVT that may hinder adequate labor law enforcement, including financial resource allocation.


Table 6. Labor Law Enforcement Efforts Related to Child Labor

Overview of Labor Law Enforcement

2017

2018

Labor Inspectorate Funding

$100,000 (8)

$100,000 (11)

Number of Labor Inspectors

520 (8)

615 (11)

Inspectorate Authorized to Assess Penalties

Yes (8)

Yes (11)

Initial Training for New Labor Inspectors

Yes (8)

Yes (11)

 

Training on New Laws Related to Child Labor

N/A (8)

Yes (11)

Refresher Courses Provided

Yes (8)

Yes (11)

Number of Labor Inspections Conducted

3,563 (8)

8,167 (11)

 

Number Conducted at Worksite

3,563 (8)

8,167 (11)

Number of Child Labor Violations Found

240 (8)

Unknown (11)

 

Number of Child Labor Violations for Which Penalties Were Imposed

42 (8)

10 (11)

Number of Child Labor Penalties Imposed that Were Collected

34 (8)

10 (11)

Routine Inspections Conducted

Yes (8)

Yes (11)

 

Routine Inspections Targeted

Yes (8)

Yes (11)

Unannounced Inspections Permitted

Yes (8)

Yes (11)

Unannounced Inspections Conducted

Yes (8)

Yes (11)

Complaint Mechanism Exists

Yes (8)

Yes (11)

Reciprocal Referral Mechanism Exists Between Labor Authorities and Social Services

Yes (8)

Yes (11)

MOLVT has initiated meetings with the ILO to draft a Work Plan for Strategic Inspection Compliance, which will set standards for conducting labor inspections in the sectors of greatest need, including construction and entertainment. (11) The National Committee on Countering Child Labor (NCCL) employs 1 child labor inspector in each of Cambodia's 25 provinces. (11,53) When child labor inspections occur, they are concentrated in the city of Phnom Penh, as well as in the provincial, formal-sector factories producing goods for export, such as textiles and garments, rather than in rural areas where the majority of child laborers work. (6,11,22,54) In addition, the NCCL reported that the labor inspectorate does not conduct inspections in hospitality or nightlife establishments after business hours, because the inspectorate lacks funds to pay inspectors for overtime. (11) Enforcement related to child labor abuses in domestic work is conducted by the Sub-National Committee of Women and Children, not labor inspectors. (11)

Although unannounced inspections are permitted, they rarely happen in practice; however, when they do, anecdotal evidence suggest that most occur on cassava farms. (11) The government, ILO, and NGOs all agree that the labor inspectorate is insufficiently funded, affecting its ability to conduct inspections outside of Phnom Penh. Labor inspectors are in need of more technical training. (11)

In 2018, the NCCL let child labor violators off with just a warning, and did not assess penalties for the offenders. Children discovered in these situations were removed and referred to MOSAVY for assessment. (11,51,54) The NCCL claims that it will begin fining violators of child labor laws in 2019. (11)

In 2018, the NCCL claimed that all labor inspectors received training on child labor laws, with on-the-job training offered to inspectors throughout the year. The NCCL has also indicated that it would like to develop its capacity to conduct inspections at constructions sites, where child labor is prevalent, and this will require the cooperation of the Ministry of Land Management. (11) During the reporting period, the MOLVT provided 6 labor inspection-related trainings for 635 inspectors. In addition, NCCL officials and inspectors attended 33 workshops on the legal framework related to the elimination of the worst forms of child labor. (11)

During the reporting period, the labor inspectorate revised its questionnaire for factory inspections to align with the ILO-Better Factories Cambodia questionnaire. This was done as a long-term aspiration to make the labor inspectorate the primary inspection institution, with the ILO-Better Factories Cambodia working to assist and audit the inspectorate's performance. (11,20)

The MOLVT has established regulations on hazardous work for children in several sectors, including in agriculture, brickmaking, fishing, tobacco, and cassava production; however, insufficient training of labor inspectors and corruption within law enforcement limits the capacity of local authorities to adequately enforce these regulations. (8,31,50,55,56) In 2018, the NCCL removed 400 children from plantations. (11) All children removed during labor inspections were referred to MOSAVY for social services, including 119 alleged child labor victims deported from Thailand and Vietnam back to Cambodia. (11,20) Sanctions for labor violations, including those related to child labor, are rarely imposed in accordance with the law. (11,51,54)

The government did not provide information on its labor law enforcement efforts in regards to the number of child labor violations found.

Criminal Law Enforcement
In 2018, criminal law enforcement agencies in Cambodia took actions to combat child labor (Table 7). However, gaps exist within the operations of the Ministry of Justice that may hinder adequate criminal law enforcement, including the lack of information regarding enforcement actions.


Table 7. Criminal Law Enforcement Efforts Related to Child Labor

Overview of Criminal Law Enforcement

2017

2018

Initial Training for New Criminal Investigators

Yes (8)

Yes (11)

 

Training on New Laws Related to the Worst Forms of Child Labor

N/A (8)

Yes (11)

Refresher Courses Provided

Yes (8)

Yes (11)

Number of Investigations

Unknown (8)

Unknown (20)

Number of Violations Found

46 (8)

39 (11)

Number of Prosecutions Initiated

Unknown (8)

Unknown (11)

Number of Convictions

Unknown (8)

Unknown (11)

Imposed Penalties for Violations Related to The Worst Forms of Child Labor

Unknown

Unknown (20)

Reciprocal Referral Mechanism Exists Between Criminal Authorities and Social Services

Yes (8)

Yes (11)

MOSAVY organized 2 workshops on responding to trafficking in persons (TIP) victim needs, with 148 officials from government and NGO entities. In collaboration with NGOs and IOM, MOSAVY also conducted 7 trainings in 6 provinces on guidelines and procedures for TIP victim identification, attended by 358 officials. (11) In 2018, with the assistance of a USAID-funded Counter Trafficking in Persons (CTIP) program, the government institutionalized CTIP training into the curriculum of the Cambodian National Police Academy, which included helping authorities identify human trafficking victims and treat them respectfully while collecting evidence. (11,57) Also with assistance from USAID, the NCCL is working to establish a national database for TIP identification and referral for services. (11,20)

The Ministry of Justice does not provide disaggregated data on crimes or child labor violations. (11) In Cambodia, judges have discretion to determine whether perpetrators of crimes related to child labor will be imprisoned or fined, as well as the amount of the fine. The penalties imposed are not uniformly administered and do not adhere to the parameters prescribed by law. (3,37,58)

The government did not provide information on its criminal law enforcement efforts, including the number of investigations conducted, the number of prosecutions initiated, the number of convictions, and the number of penalties imposed for violations related to the worst forms of child labor.

The government has established mechanisms to coordinate its efforts to address child labor (Table 8). However, gaps exist that hinder the effective coordination of efforts to address child labor, including the efficacy in accomplishing mandates.


Table 8. Key Mechanisms to Coordinate Government Efforts on Child Labor

Coordinating Body

Role & Description

National Committee on Child Labor of the Cambodian National Council for Children (NCCL)

Coordinates child labor issues at the national level. Ensures that projects and programs follow the National Plan of Action on Child Labor. (8) Includes concerned ministries, businesses, trade unions, and NGOs. Oversees Provincial Committees on the Protection of Child Rights and Provincial Committees on Child Labor. (8,59) Coordinates all government ministries, institutions, international non-governmental organizations, development partners, and the community in promoting and protecting children's rights. In 2018, worked to strengthen legal protections under the National Plan of Action. (20)

Commune Committees for Women and Children

Advisory entities that raise awareness of child labor regulations, promote school attendance, collaborate with provincial labor departments to monitor for child labor violations, and refer children at risk of or engaged in child labor to social protection services. Led by the MOLVT’s Department of Child Labor. (21,50,60) This body was active during the reporting period. (20)

National Committee for Counter Trafficking (NCCT)

Coordinates government, NGOs, civil society, and private sector efforts to address human trafficking and sexual exploitation. (57,61) Focuses on children’s affairs, international cooperation, justice, law enforcement, migration, prevention, protection, recovery, reintegration, and repatriation. (61) Chaired by the Deputy Prime Minister and the Ministry of Interior, with 4 vice chair ministries and 14 participating ministries. Oversees Provincial Committees for Combating Trafficking in Persons in each province. (3,53,61) During the reporting period, signed an action plan with China, signed a memorandum of understanding with India, attended a Working Conference of the Six Countries' Joint Action Against Human Trafficking in China, and convened the National Anti-Human Trafficking Day to raise public awareness. (3) In addition, conducted inspections that resulted in the removal of 240 children from brick kilns, and suspended operations at 3 kilns. (11)

The government issued a Royal Decree authorizing the National Committee on Child Labor, of the Cambodian National Council for Children, to begin operations and effectively function as a coordinating mechanism. (20) In addition, the Commune Committees for Women and Children are underfunded and have insufficient technical capacity to provide social protection services to children involved in or at risk of child labor. (60)

The government has established policies related to child labor (Table 9). However, policy gaps exist that hinder efforts to address child labor, including integrating child labor elimination and protection strategies into relevant policies.


Table 9. Key Policies Related to Child Labor

Policy

Description

National Plan of Action on Worst Forms of Child Labor (2016–2025)

Aims to build the capacity of law enforcement officers, strengthen the enforcement of relevant laws, raise public awareness of child labor issues, and enhance child labor monitoring systems at the community level. (21) This policy was active during the reporting period. (11)

Action Plan to Prevent and Respond to Violence Against Children (2017–2021)

Aims to prevent and respond to violence against children, including the worst forms of child labor. (62) During the reporting period, UNICEF and Save the Children conducted positive parenting trainings in 14 provinces, and launched a national social behavior change campaign to address child protection. (11)

National Policies on the Elimination of Child Labor in the Fisheries Sector

Two policies address child labor in the fisheries sector: the National Plan of Action to Tackle Child Labor in Inland and Coastal Fisheries; and the Action Plan for Gender Equality Promotion and Child Labor Elimination in the Fisheries Sector. Seek to prevent and withdraw children from child labor and promote increased access to education and livelihood opportunities. (63) During the reporting period, held 6 workshops in 3 provinces on “gender equality and elimination of child labor in fisheries,” with 218 community members in attendance. (11)

Policy on Childhood Development and Protection in the Agricultural Sector (2016–2020)

Establishes a strategic framework to protect children working in the agricultural sector. Seeks to prevent and reduce child labor, especially in hazardous work, and improve agricultural vocational training for youth ages 15 through 17. (7) During the reporting period, the government conducted workshops and trainings for over 440 agricultural officials in 10 provinces. (11,20)

National Plan of Action on the Suppression of Human Trafficking, Smuggling, Labor, and Sexual Exploitation (2014–2018)

Aims to prevent and eliminate all forms of human trafficking, including by strengthening criminal law enforcement to protect children from exploitation in entertainment venues, integrating anti-human trafficking and child safety issues into the public school curriculum, and promoting the inclusion of vulnerable children in both formal and informal education. (61) Coordinated by the NCCT, with input from Ministries of Justice; Women's Affairs; Foreign Affairs; Labor; and Social Affairs, Veterans, and Youth Rehabilitation. (11) During the reporting period, prosecuted 421 trafficking cases and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation repatriated and provided limited services to 8,489 Cambodians from 6 countries. The government continued to carry out awareness-raising activities, including through more than 33,000 NCCT information “dissemination events” and 25,000 public fora. (20) The General Department of Immigration issued 92,081 border passes to Cambodians living in western border regions to encourage safe labor migration to Thailand. (20)

The Education Strategic Plan (2014–2018)

Sought to ensure equitable access to education and improve the education system's response to human trafficking and child labor. (64) During the reporting period, the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sports conducted teacher trainings and implemented improvements to early-grade reading curricula in 14 provinces. (11,20)

National Social Protection Strategy (NSPS) (2017–2021)

Aims to expand access to healthcare, nutrition, and educational services and to promote the elimination of the worst forms of child labor. (65,66) Expanded the number of employers making use of the National Social Security Foundation. (20) During the reporting period, the government worked with development partners to expand the ID Poor Program, which will enable a provision of public benefits for those in extreme poverty, thus children vulnerable to child labor. (11)

National Plan of Action on the Reduction of Child Labor and Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labor (2016–2025)

Overseen by MOSAVY. Creates a roadmap to the complete eradication of the worst forms of child labor by 2025 in various sectors, including service, agriculture, mining, and energy. (20,48,67) Conducts awareness raising activities, legal action, and collaborations with civil society actors. (20) This plan of action was active during the reporting period. (20)

National Action Plan on the Elimination of Child Labor in Fisheries

Overseen by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries under the Fisheries Administration of Cambodia (FiA). Aligned with the Strategic Framework for Fisheries (2010–2019). (48,67) This national action plan was active during the reporting period. (20)

Action Plan for Gender Equality Promotion and Child Labor Elimination in the Fisheries Sector (2016–2020)

Overseen by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries under FiA. Aligned with the Strategic Framework for Fisheries (2010–2019). Seeks to prevent and withdraw children from child labor and hazardous work in the fisheries sector. (48) This action plan was active during the reporting period. (20)

Capacity Development Plan for Family Support, Foster Care, and Adoption†

Overseen by MOSAVY. Improves services for children without parental care, vulnerable to child labor, and ensures that children can still live in a family setting. (11) Maintains a comprehensive database of all children living in residential and foster care. Funded by USAID through UNICEF. (11) In 2018, completed a desk review on clinical supervision and provided ongoing training with First Step Cambodia, Hagar, Angkor Hospital for Children, and This Life Cambodia. The aim of this training was to induct individuals into the role of clinical supervision in social work practice in Cambodia. (20) In addition, provided training on clinical supervision to 17 social worker professionals in 5 Family Care First partner organizations in Siem Reap and Phnom Penh. Provided continuous training for social work supervision to 25 people from the same organizations. (20) Worked with other partners to develop the guidelines on kinship care, foster care and domestic adoption for MOSVY. (20)

Strategic and Operational Plan for the Implementation of Juvenile Justice Law (2018–2020)†

Overseen by MOSAVY, funded by UNICEF. Seeks to build a sustainable juvenile justice system, and to provide effective protection and support to incarcerated juveniles who are vulnerable to child labor.(11) In 2018, met with relevant social partners and held consultations to prepare for the 3-year plan. (20)

† Policy was approved during the reporting period.
‡ The government had other policies that may have addressed child labor issues or had an impact on child labor. (68-71)

The government has not specifically included child labor elimination and prevention strategies in the National Employment Policy and the Multilingual Education National Action Plan. (72,73)

In 2018, the government funded and participated in programs that include the goal of eliminating or preventing child labor (Table 10). However, gaps exist in these social programs, including adequacy of programs to address the full scope of the problem in all sectors.


Table 10. Key Social Programs to Address Child Labor

Program

Description

Cambodia Countering Trafficking in Persons (2015–2019)

$8.5 million, USAID-funded, 4-year program implemented by Winrock International to strengthen the capacity of government and community stakeholders to prevent human trafficking, protect at-risk populations, and increase the number of successful prosecutions of perpetrators. (74,75) In 2018, made revisions to improve the National Plan of Action on the Suppression of Human Trafficking, Smuggling, Labor, and Sexual Exploitation. Distributed 75,666 public awareness materials on safe migration and human trafficking, including leaflets, videos, posters, and information cards. (20) Assisted approximately 180 trafficking victims and 160 abused migrants. (20)

Better Factories Cambodia†

USDOL, the Government of Cambodia, Garment Manufacturers in Cambodia, and ILO-funded program to monitor garment factories’ compliance with national and international labor standards, including those related to child labor. (8,76) Additional information is available on the program’s website. In 2018, reported a minimal number of child workers in export-oriented garment factories. (11) Provided training to 2,341 participants in 198 factories. Removed 10 children in child labor conditions, along with the NCCL's removal of 400 children, for a total of 410. (11,20)

UN WFP Country Program† (2011–2018)

Multi-government and private sector-funded, 8-year program implemented in collaboration with the Government of Cambodia that included a school feeding program for children in need. (77) This program was active during the reporting period. (20)

† Program is funded by the Government of Cambodia.
‡ The government had other social programs that may have included the goal of eliminating or preventing child labor. (79)

Many poor households in rural communities lack access to a social protection safety net, which increases the vulnerability of children to child labor as a means to supplement family income. (3,80) Although Cambodia has implemented programs that target child labor, the scope of these programs is insufficient to fully address the extent of the problem. (11)

In addition, the Ministry of Commerce and the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training (MOLVT), in collaboration with the ILO, reportedly plan to fund a Cambodian Labor Force and Child Labor Survey, to be executed by Cambodia's National Institute of Statistics, in 2019. (11,20)

Based on the reporting above, suggested actions are identified that would advance the elimination of child labor in Cambodia (Table 11).


Table 11. Suggested Government Actions to Eliminate Child Labor

Area

Suggested Action

Year(s) Suggested

Legal Framework

Extend labor protections to child household workers employed by their relatives.

2018

Ensure that all children are protected by law, including children working outside of formal employment relationships.

2018

Criminally prohibit the offering and use of a child for pornographic performances.

2015 – 2018

Criminally prohibit the recruitment of children under age 18 by non-state armed groups.

2016 – 2018

Institute a compulsory education age that is at a minimum equal to the minimum age for work.

2009 – 2018

Enforcement

Provide sufficient resources for the enforcement of child labor laws to ensure that all inspections, including unannounced inspections, are conducted throughout the country, especially in rural areas and in the informal sector.

2010 – 2018

Build the capacity of local-level authorities to enforce child and forced labor regulations, as applicable, in agriculture, brickmaking, tobacco, cassava, and fishing sectors, by providing more technical training opportunities for labor inspectors.

2012 – 2018

Collect and publicly release disaggregated data on criminal law enforcement efforts, including the number of investigations conducted, the number of prosecutions initiated, the number of convictions, and the number imposed penalties for violations related to the worst forms of child labor.

2015 – 2018

Establish and uniformly administer penalties for violations of laws on child labor, including its worst forms, in accordance with the parameters prescribed by law.

2009 – 2018

Strengthen inspectorate to include more on-site investigations, particularly at establishments that operate outside regular business hours

2018

Coordination

Increase funding and enhance training for Commune Committees for Women and Children to enhance social services provision for children involved in or at risk of child labor.

2016 – 2018

Government Policies

Integrate child labor elimination and prevention strategies into the Multilingual Education National Action Plan and the National Employment Policy.

2015 – 2018

Social Programs

Increase access to free basic education by eliminating unofficial school fees and addressing issues related to limited transportation, inadequate school infrastructure, insufficient number of teachers, and language barriers.

2013 – 2018

Expand social protection safety nets in rural areas to ensure that poor children and their families have access to services that may mitigate the risk of involvement in child labor.

2016 – 2018

1

Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights (LICADHO). Built on Slavery: Debt Bondage and Child Labour in Cambodia's Brick Factories. Phnom Penh: December 2016.
https://www.licadho-cambodia.org/reports/files/221LICADHO_Built_On_Slavery_Report_ENG.pdf.

2

U.S. Department of State. Trafficking in Person Report- 2018: Cambodia. Washington, DC, 2019.
https://www.state.gov/reports/2018-trafficking-in-persons-report/cambodia/.

3

U.S. Embassy- Phnom Penh. Reporting. March 4, 2019.

4

UNESCO Institute for Statistics. Gross intake ratio to the last grade of primary education, both sexes (%). Accessed March 16, 2019. For more information, please see "Children's Work and Education Statistics: Sources and Definitions" in the Reference Materials section of this report.
http://data.uis.unesco.org/.

5

ILO. Analysis of Child Economic Activity and School Attendance Statistics from National Household or Child Labor Surveys. Original data from Socio-Economic Survey (CSES), 2014. Analysis received March 12, 2019. Please see "Children's Work and Education Statistics: Sources and Definitions" in the Reference Materials section of this report.

6

National Institute of Statistics of Cambodia and ILO. Cambodia Labour Force and Child Labour Survey 2012: Child Labour Report. Phnom Penh: November 2013.
http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---asia/---ro-bangkok/---sro-bangkok/documents/publication/wcms_230723.pdf.

7

Government of Cambodia, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. Policy and Strategic Framework on Childhood Development and Protection in the Agriculture Sector 2016–2020. Phnom Penh: August 2015. Source on file.

8

U.S. Embassy- Phnom Penh. Reporting, January 17, 2018.

9

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. Trafficking in persons from Cambodia, Lao PDR and Myanmar to Thailand. August 2017.
https://www.unodc.org/documents/southeastasiaandpacific/Publications/2017/Trafficking_in_persons_to_Thailand_report.pdf.

10

Mathew, S. "Children's Work and Child Labour in Fisheries: A Note on Principles and criteria for employing children and policies and action for progressively eliminating the Worst Forms of Child Labour in fisheries and aquaculture," in FAO Workshop: CHILD LABOUR IN FISHERIES AND AQUACULTURE. Rome: April 14–16, 2010.
http://www.fao-ilo.org/fileadmin/user_upload/fao_ilo/pdf/WorkshopFisheries2010/WFPapers/MathewICSFChildLabourFisheriesFinalNote.pdf.

11

U.S. Embassy- Phnom Penh. Reporting. February 8, 2019.

12

U.S. Embassy- Phnom Penh. Reporting, December 18, 2015.

13

UCW. The twin challenges of child labour and educational marginalisation in the South-East and East Asia region: An overview. Rome: May 2014.
http://www.ilo.org/ipec/Informationresources/WCMS_IPEC_PUB_25520/lang--en/index.htm.

14

Sovuthy, K. "Child Labor Probe on Preah Vihear Sugar Plantation Moves Forward." Phnom Penh: The Cambodia Daily, April 3, 2014.
https://www.cambodiadaily.com/archives/child-labor-probe-on-preah-vihear-sugar-plantation-moves-forward-55643/.

15

Cambodia Institute of Development Study. Rapid assessment on child labor in the sugarcane sector in selected areas in Cambodia: A comparative analysis. Bangkok: ILO, 2015.
http://www.ilo.org/asia/WCMS_391960/lang--en/index.htm.

16

ILO Committee of Experts. Individual direct observation for the Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999 (No. 182), Cambodia (Ratification: 2006). Accessed: January 11, 2019. Source on File.

17

Carmichael, R. "Cambodia Struggling to Curb Child Labor." June 23, 2015.
https://www.voanews.com/east-asia-pacific/cambodia-struggling-curb-child-labor.

18

Chakyra, KS. Accident claims boy, 9, working as brick maker. Phnom Penh: Phnom Penh Post, June 1, 2016.
http://www.phnompenhpost.com/national/accident-claims-boy-9-working-brick-maker.

19

Promchertchoo, P. Cambodia's rapid urbanisation fuels child labour. October 25, 2016.
http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asiapacific/cambodia-s-rapid-urbanisation-fuels-child-labour/3231414.html.

20

U.S Embassy- Phnom Penh official. Email communication with USDOL official. July 18, 2019.

21

U.S. Embassy- Phnom Penh. Reporting, January 13, 2017.

22

Apparel Resources. "Child labor- a non-issue in Cambodian apparel industry, asserts Labor Minister." June 17, 2015. Source on file.

23

HRW. "Work Faster or Get Out" - Labor Rights Abuses in Cambodia's Garment Industry. New York: March 12, 2015.
http://features.hrw.org/features/HRW_2015_reports/Cambodia_Garment_Workers/index.html.

24

Elliott, J. "Cambodian child labour laws flouted with fake IDs." The Guardian, March 30, 2015.
http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2015/mar/30/cambodian-child-labour-laws-flouted-with-fake-ids.

25

ILO Committee of Experts Individual Direct Request for the Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999 (No. 182), Cambodia (Ratification: 2006). Accessed: January 11, 2019. Source on File.

26

Suy, Pav, and Jonathan Cox. "Child Labor Ring Busted." The Khmer Times, September 22, 2015.
https://www.khmertimeskh.com/news/16047/child-labor-ring-busted/.

27

Southeary, Pech. Woman charged With abusing child beggars. Khmer Times, July 5, 2017.
https://www.khmertimeskh.com/news/40001/woman-charged-with-abusing-child-beggars/.

28

Crowder, N. "Tourists or voyeurs? Outsiders gaze at child labor in Cambodia's largest landfill." Washington, DC: The Washington Post, February 26, 2015.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/in-sight/wp/2015/02/26/tourists-or-voyeurs-outsiders-gaze-at-child-labor-in-cambodias-largest-landfill/.

29

UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. Consideration of Reports of State parties: Replies of Cambodia to the list of issues. January 6, 2015: Report No. CRC/C/OPSC/KHM/Q/1/Add.1.
http://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/treatybodyexternal/Download.aspx?symbolno=CRC/C/OPSC/KHM/Q/1/Add.1&Lang=en.

30

David, Sen. Child beggars repatriated from Vietnam. Khmer Times, June 16, 2017.
https://www.khmertimeskh.com/news/39393/child-beggars-repatriated-from-vietnam/.

31

U.S. Department of State. Trafficking in Persons Report- 2019: Cambodia Washington, DC, June 20, 2019.
https://www.state.gov/reports/2019-trafficking-in-persons-report/cambodia/.

32

Brickell, Katherine, et. al. Blood Bricks: Untold Stories of Modern Slavery and Climate Change from Cambodia. Royal Holloway, University of London, October 2018. Source on file.

33

Royal Holloway. New report finds modern slavery, which is part of construction boom in Cambodia, is linked to climate change. October 16, 2018. Source on file.

34

Field, Alexandra. The Children Working in Cambodia's Brick Kilns. July 7, 2017.
http://edition.cnn.com/2017/07/26/asia/cambodia-brick-kiln/index.html.

35

Channyda, Chhay, and Alice Cuddy. "The knowledge economy." Phnom Penh: Phnom Penh Post, September 17, 2015.
http://www.phnompenhpost.com/national/knowledge-economy-0.

36

Government of Cambodia. The Law on Education. Enacted: November 21, 2007.
http://www.moeys.gov.kh/en/laws-and-legislations/law/ច្បាប់-ស្ដី​ពី-ការ​អប់រំ.

37

U.S. Department of State. Country Reports on Human Rights Practice- 2017: Cambodia. Washington, DC, 2017.
https://www.state.gov/reports/2017-country-reports-on-human-rights-practices/cambodia/.

38

Government of Cambodia. Cambodian Labor Law. Enacted: March 13, 1997.
http://www.bigpond.com.kh/Council_of_Jurists/Travail/trv001g.htm.

39

Government of Cambodia. Prakas on the Prohibition of Hazardous Child Labor, 106. Enacted: April 28, 2004. Source on file.

40

Government of Cambodia. Penal Code. Enacted: December 10, 2010.
http://www.unodc.org/res/cld/document/khm/criminal_code_of_the_kingdom_of_cambodia_html/Cambodia_Criminal-Code-of-the-Kingdom-of-Cambodia-30-Nov-2009-Eng.pdf.

41

Government of Cambodia. Law on Suppression of Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation, NS/RKM/0208/005. Enacted: February 20, 2008.
http://www.unodc.org/res/cld/document/khm/2008/law_on_suppression_of_human_trafficking_and_sexual_exploitation_html/Cambodia_03_-_Law-on-Suppression-of-Human-Trafficking-and-Sexual-Exploitation-15022008-Eng.pdf.

42

Government of Cambodia. Law on Juvenile Justice, NS/RKM/0716/009. Enacted: June 29, 2016. Source on file.

43

Government of Cambodia. Law on Control of Drugs. Enacted: December 9, 1996.
http://www.cambodiainvestment.gov.kh/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/Law-on-Drug-Management_full-text_961209.pdf.

44

Government of Cambodia. The Law on the General Statute of Military Personnel of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces. Enacted: September 15, 1997.
https://www.ilo.org/dyn/natlex/docs/ELECTRONIC/93508/109344/F811412622/KHM93508 Eng.pdf.

45

Government of Cambodia. MOLVT’s Prokas on Working Conditions for House Workers. Enacted: May 29, 2018. Source on file.

46

ILO Committee of Experts. Individual Direct Request concerning Minimum Age Convention, 1973 (No. 138) Cambodia (Ratification: 1999) Published: 2015. Accessed: November 5, 2015.
http://www.ilo.org/dyn/normlex/en/f?p=1000:13100:0::NO:13100:P13100_COMMENT_ID:3187877:YES.

47

ILO Committee of Experts. Individual Observation concerning Minimum Age Convention, 1973 (No. 138) Cambodia (Ratification: 1999) Published: 2018. Accessed: March 2018.
http://www.ilo.org/dyn/normlex/en/f?p=1000:13100:0::NO:13100:P13100_COMMENT_ID:3338313.

48

ILO Committee of Experts. Individual Direct Observation concerning the Minimum Age Convention, 1973 (No. 138), Cambodia (Ratification: 1999). Accessed: January 11, 2019. Source on File.

49

Evans, Jonathan. Higher Student Dropout Rates Along Cambodia's Border with Thailand. Voice of America - Learning English, February 19, 2019. Source on file.

50

U.S. Embassy- Phnom Penh. Reporting, January 17, 2014.

51

U.S. Department of State. Country Reports on Human Rights Practices- 2015: Cambodia. Washington, DC: April 13, 2016.
https://www.state.gov/reports/2015-country-reports-on-human-rights-practices/cambodia/.

52

U.S. Embassy Phnom Penh official. Email communication to USDOL official. February 28, 2014.

53

U.S. Embassy- Phnom Penh. Reporting, February 19, 2016.

54

ILO. Cambodia, Labour Inspection Structure and Organization. Accessed: November 4, 2016.
http://www.ilo.org/labadmin/info/WCMS_209354/lang--en/index.htm.

55

U.S. Embassy Phnom Penh official. Email communication to USDOL official. March 6, 2016.

56

Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training officials. Interview with USDOL official. September 20, 2016.

57

UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women. Sixth periodic report submitted by Cambodia under article 18 of the Convention, due in 2017. June 12, 2018: CEDAW/C/KHM/6. Source on file.

58

U.S. Embassy Phnom Penh official. Email communication to USDOL official. August 3, 2015.

59

Government of Cambodia. National Plan of Action on the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour (NPA-WFCL) 2008-2012. Accessed: July 8, 2010.
http://www.ilo.org/dyn/natlex/natlex4.detail?p_lang=en&p_isn=93428&p_country=KHM&p_count=183.

60

Jordanwood, M. Protecting Cambodia's Children? Phnom Penh: World Vision Cambodia, 2016.
http://www.wvi.org/publication/protecting-cambodia’s-children.

61

Government of Cambodia. National Plan of Action of the National Committee for Counter Trafficking (2014–2018). Phnom Penh: February 6, 2015.
https://ctipcambodia.files.wordpress.com/2017/08/03-aug-17-ncct-mid-term-review.pdf.

62

Government of Cambodia. Action Plan to Prevent and Respond to Violence Against Children. December 11, 2017.
https://www.unicef.org/cambodia/Full_VAC_Action_Plan_En_Final_AP.pdf.

63

Government of Cambodia. Action Plan for Gender Equality Promotion and Child Labor Elimination in the Fisheries Sector (2016-2020). Phnom Penh: Fisheries Administration, December 2015. Source on file.

64

Government of Cambodia. Education Strategic Plan 2014–2018. Phnom Penh: Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sport, March 2014.
http://www.moeys.gov.kh/en/policies-and-strategies/559.html#.WL69v9LytQI.

65

U.S. Embassy Phnom Penh official. Email communication to USDOL official. February 8, 2017.

66

Government of Cambodia. National Social Protection Strategy for the Poor and Vulnerable. Phnom Penh: 2011.
https://www.social-protection.org/gimi/gess/ShowRessource.action?ressource.ressourceId=24880.

67

ILO CEACR. Direct Request concerning Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999 (no. 182) Cambodia (ratification: 2006). Published: 2018. Source on file.

68

Government of Cambodia. National Policy on Youth Development. Phnom Penh: Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, June 24, 2011.
http://www.youthpolicy.org/national/Cambodia_2011_Policy_Youth_Development.pdf.

69

Government of Cambodia. Safety Village Commune/Sangkat Policy Guideline. Phnom Penh: August 2010.
http://www.cncc.gov.kh/userfiles/image/download/Policies & Standards-E9 Village Commune Safety Policy-En.pdf.

70

Government of Cambodia, Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation. Policy on Protection of the Rights of Victims of Human Trafficking. Phnom Penh: 2009. Source on file.

71

Association of Southeast Asian Nations. ASEAN Convention Against Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children. Kuala Lumpur: November 21, 2015.
http://www.asean.org/storage/images/2015/November/actip/ACTIP.PDF.

72

Government of Cambodia. National Employment Policy (2015–2025). Phnom Penh: September 4, 2015.
http://khmerebookfreedownload.blogspot.com/2015/10/cambodia-national-employment-policy.html.

73

Government of Cambodia, Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport. Multilingual Education National Action Plan (2015-2018). Phnom Penh: October 2015. Source on file.

74

Winrock International. Cambodia Countering Trafficking-in-Persons (CTIP) Factsheet. Accessed: December 7, 2016.
https://ctipcambodia.files.wordpress.com/2016/01/here.pdf.

75

USAID. Cambodia Countering Trafficking-in-Persons (CTIP) Program. May 3, 2015.
http://www.grants-gov.net/grants_gov_display.php?program=RFA-442-15-000002.

76

ILO and IFC. Better Factories Cambodia: Garment Industry 33rd Compliance Synthesis Report. ILO and International Finance Corporation, June 2016.
http://betterwork.org/dev/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/SR-33-BFC-FINAL_ENG2-1.pdf.

77

World Food Program Cambodia. WFP Cambodia Country Brief. October, 2017.
https://documents.wfp.org/stellent/groups/public/documents/ep/wfp273243.pdf?_ga=2.265899270.822048756.1521136285-525172881.1521136285.

78

Damnok Toek. To assist vulnerable children and their famillies. Accessed: February 28, 2019. Source on file.

79

ILO. Kingdom of Cambodia Decent Work Country Programme (DWCP) 2016–2018. May 2016.
http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---asia/---ro-bangkok/documents/publication/wcms_533564.pdf.

80

Orsini, D. Eliminating Exploitative Child Labor Through Education and Livelihoods. Final Evaluation. Arlington: Management Systems International, 2016.
https://www.dol.gov/sites/dolgov/files/EBSA/Cambodia_EXCEL_feval.pdf.