Afraid their children are being mistreated, the parents of six young men from Kampot province who set off to work on fishing boats in Thailand earlier this year are seeking help from the authorities to bring them home.
So Yat, 60, said her son, Hem Chan Mol, 21, and six other men from Podos village in Kampot’s Chhuk district departed in early January to work as fishermen in Thailand. Only a month and a half later, one of the men returned with tales of mistreatment and a letter from So Yat’s son.
According to the letter, Hem Chan Mol was receiving 4,000 baht (or about $105) in monthly wages but was forced to work long hours and had been beaten by his employers, So Yat said.
“They beat him with a spade, and he has wounds from the beating,” she said. “I am worried about my son’s security and health.”
Uk Phan, 42, said she had urged her son, Inh Vanny, 17, not to join the others in Thailand, fearing he would be cheated by employers and middlemen.
“I told my son not to go to Thailand, but he escaped from me and went with the other villagers,” she said.
The group of young men slipped into Thailand on Jan 5 through Poipet, with the help of a Cambodian man known only as Soeurn, who recruited their sons for another Cambodian man in Bangkok by the name of Mab, she said.
The families have paid the two men 7,000 baht (about $184) for the safe return of their sons, So Yat said, but to no avail.
Nhep Bunchin, Minister of Labor and Vocational Training, said that there was little Cambodian authorities can do to intervene as the men illegally entered Thailand.
“There is no legal way we can help them, and how can we even find them in the big land of Thailand?” he asked.