Thursday, 31 March 2011 15:03 David Boyle and Mom Kunthear
Human rights groups accused the T&P labour firm of hiding underage trainees from their Kampong Chhnang recruitment centre at a nearby farm yesterday, ahead of government inspections.
Moeun Tola, head of the labour programme at the Community Legal Education Centre, said he witnessed a truck bearing the T&P Co Ltd insignia transport about 17 women to a nearby farm in Rolea Ba’ier district’s Choeung Kreav commune at 7:40am yesterday.
“The official from the Ministry of Labour was going to inspect the T&P centre in Kampong Chhnang and then the company removed some trainees who they believed to be underage to their farm in Damnak Kei village,” he said.
An anonymous trainer within the centre and local residents had confirmed to him that the farm belonged to T&P owner Sam Pisey, he added.
Sam Chhankea, Kampong Chhnang provincial coordinator at local rights group Adhoc, said in the past two days he had seen the truck make three trips to the farm, located about 16 kilometres from the centre, with about 20 females per trip.
“I think most of the workers that the company moved from the center are underage, and maybe they will have to stay at the farm for a long time because they brought plates, pots and food with them,” he said.
Keo Thea, director of the municipal Anti-Human Trafficking and Juvenile Protection Office, said yesterday that he didn’t know the specifics of investigations in Kampong Chhnang but confirmed cases against T&P Co Ltd had been sent to the court.
“We are searching and secretly investigating recruitment centres that we suspect [of trafficking] and we have never abandoned our work,” he said.
A trainer from the T&P centre who declined to give her name, confirmed the trainees were moved amid concerns authorities would discover they were under the legal working age.
“They have moved [them] to the farm since Tuesday and then transported them back to the centre in the evening when it is quiet to make sure no one knows,” she said.