Do you have a question to ask us about safer migration?
Read user-submitted questions and answers posted below.

Is trafficking illegal?

Yes, trafficking is illegal in Cambodia, and in other countries.

The Cambodian Law on Suppression of the Kidnapping and Trafficking of Human Persons and Exploitation of Human Persons states that a perpetrator of trafficking will receive between 10-15 years’ imprisonment. This increases to 15-20 years if the victim is under 15 years old. This applies equally to accomplices of the perpetrator, traffickers/sellers, buyers and those who provide money or means (such as vehicles or accommodation) for committing the trafficking.

It is important to remember that trafficking is not the same as migration. Trafficking in people is their forcible trade, transportation or sheltering. This is not their choice and exploits their ignorance, poverty or vulnerability. They are being used so the trafficker can profit financially. Exploitation can be for labor or for sexual purposes.

Migration differs from trafficking since it is undertaken by choice and can have positive consequences. However, where migration is done illegally or unsafely, it can result in trafficking and exploitation, where the individual is used against their will.

If you want to know more details, please read Module 1, Lesson 1.
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What should I do if I get trafficked?

If you see or fall into human trafficking, you can also try to seek for help through the following hotline numbers. If possible you should also try to contact your family and friends in order to let them know where you are.

Cambodian hotline numbers:

  • 023 997 919 or 1288 (free call): National Anti-Human Trafficking and Juvenile Protection Police Hotline
  • 077 455 516: Legal Support for Children and Women (LSCW) Anti-Trafficking Hotline)
  • 012 311 112: ChildSafe hotline

If you are outside of Cambodia, you could seek assistance from your embassy with the following contacts:

In China
Cambodian Embassy in Beijing: +81 18 80 14 07 865
Cambodian Consulate in Shanghai: +86 15 60 17 18 777, +86 18 50 16 43 537

In Thailand
Cambodian Embassy in Thailand: +66 29 57 58 51
GAATW (NGO): +66 28 64 14 27
LPN (NGO): +66 34 434 267

In Malaysia
Cambodian Embassy in Malaysia: +60 34 257 11 50, +60 34 257 37 11
TENAGANITA (NGO): +060 37 77 03 691

In Singapore
Home (NGO): 24-hour helpline for foreign female/male workers
+65 63 41 55 25 (women)
+65 63 41 55 35 (men)

(Cited from Counter Trafficking in Persons (CTIP), Winrock Cambodia, Issue No. 6 January-March, 2015)
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Why do so many people migrate?

People have many different reasons why they migrate. People often hope that by migrating they might have:

  • Better job opportunities
  • More income to help the family
  • Adventure and opportunity to see and experience new things
  • The chance to learn new skills
  • The chance to meet new people
  • Better business opportunities
  • A new start in life

What are the dangers of migration?

Some dangers include:

  • Being cheated by ‘mei khjol’
  • Not being given a promised salary or job
  • Being tricked into doing difficult, dirty or dangerous jobs
  • Being smuggled or trafficked
  • Having no access to information or language skills to ask for help
  • Sacrificing your education and having to drop out of school

Also see the answer to the question “What could happen if you migrate illegally?”

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What could happen if you migrate illegally?

  • An illegal migrant usually has no employment contract which means the migrant is in danger of being exploited, or a victim of abuse
  • Jobs through irregular channels usually offer less pay and the working conditions can be bad
  • An illegal migrant may not even get any salary and has little ability to complain about it
  • Less freedom of movement – restriction to travel outside of your registered province
  • Migrants without documents may fear the police and could be arrested and deported
  • This also reduces your ability to report a crime to the police if you are the victim of a crime
  • Not having legal status will prevent you from accessing the hospital free of charge or with little contribution
  • You will not get full access to social and health care
  • Illegal migrants often have to pay high rent and face higher costs of living
  • Illegal migrants cannot use a safe migration route to return home

Documented or legal migrant workers are allowed to enter, stay, and work in another country, and are protected by labor laws and other laws. But, undocumented or illegal migrant workers are not authorized by the receiving country to enter, stay and work there. Undocumented or illegal migrants often end up being arrested or sent back to their home country. Some end up paying large amounts of money in bribes or to unauthorized agents in order to get false or in-country documentation, and to get jobs. Some end up being trafficked within the country or to other countries. Many end up in debt or/and in the worst jobs, forced labor or other exploitative situations (such as unpaid overtime, overwork and inadequate rest), and even victims of beatings, torture or rape. They are unable to seek help from local authorities or get protection from the law because they are illegal migrants. Illegal migrants are not able to benefit from local services, such as health care; often feel unable to go out in public places and be part of the local community; and, often live in fear of being found out and arrested. (Cited from IOM Training Manual, page 14.)

If you want to know more details, please read Module 1, Lesson 2.
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What should I know before migrating?

There are many things you should know before migrating!

  • At the very least, you must know the documentation that you need, and the process you need to follow, and you should be 100% sure that you have followed this, and that you will be migrating legally, before you leave home.
  • You should know that your recruitment company is licensed by the government. See Module 2, lesson 1.
  • You should know the name of your new employer, the address and phone number of your new job and where you will be living, You should know that the phone numbers and email addresses that you have been given are real, by testing them first. See Module 1, lesson 2, for more tips.
  • You should know about the exact terms of your contract (that you should have signed). See Module 3, lesson2.
  • You should know some telephone numbers that can help you if you have problems. This includes hotline numbers, police, the embassy, and NGO services. See Module 6.
  • Ideally, you would know the names and phone numbers of some people where you will be going who you can trust who might be able to help you.
  • If you are going to a new country, you should know the basic situation, living and working conditions of the new country you are going to.
  • You should know the bank information of your and your family’s accounts, so you can transfer money when you start work. See Module 1, lesson 4, and Module 5.
  • You should know how to call home and abroad, how to send texts, emails or use social media to stay in touch with family at home. See module 1, lesson 5.

There are many other things that you should know before you migrate, if you want to keep yourself safe. Take time to visit all the other modules and lessons on the AIMS website, to learn about things such as how to budget and use banks; how to have healthy relationships; how to keep yourself safe at work.

Read more detail in Modules 1, 2, 3 and 6
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What should I do before making the decision to migrate? And what documents do I need to have?

  • Talk with the village chief or experienced migrants in the village about migrating before you go.
  • Use a legal recruitment agency to organize your migration
  • Collect all telephone numbers that can help you if you have problems. This includes police, doctors, hospitals, family, friends and NGO services.
  • Do not sign a contract if you can’t read or understand it. Get help.
  • Know the address of where you will be working and living before you go.

You need to have these documents:

  • Overseas Cambodian worker card
  • Work permit
  • Passport
  • Work Visa
  • Employment contract
  • Service Contract/ guarantee agreement
  • Residential permit

If you want to know more details, please read Module 1, Lesson 2.
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What documents do you need to migrate to Thailand?

When you migrate legally to Thailand, the process is similar to other countries, so you need to make sure you have the following documents:

  • Overseas Cambodian worker card
  • Work permit
  • Passport
  • Work Visa
  • Employment contract
  • Service Contract/ guarantee agreement
  • Residential permit

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Why should I use a legal recruitment agency?

It is especially important for migrants who are going to a different country to use a legal recruitment company. Going through a legal recruitment company means you can avoid trouble. Using Reliable Recruitment Companies:

  • You will receive protection by the law in the destination country
  • You will have work insurance
  • You won’t get in trouble with the police
  • You will have worker’s rights

What type of contracts does a recruitment company have?

There are two types of contracts that a recruitment company should provide you with. One is called “Job Placement Service Contract” which is the agreement between you and a recruitment company in which the recruitment company guarantees to place you in a job. The other is called an “Employment Contract” which is an agreement between you and the employer.

Read more about using reliable recruitment agency in Module 2.

How does your organization help victims?

World Education Cambodia does not currently have specific programs or activities to help victims of unsafe migration or trafficking. The hotline numbers displaying on our site and the services listed in the Resources section are for support given by the government and other agencies. Please contact them directly. See our Resources section.
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