Cambodia: Migrant Exodus
June 23, 2014
by John Vink
Over the past week, and following the military coup in Thailand, nearly 200,000 Cambodian migrant workers have come back to their home country. It seems a series of crackdowns by the Thai immigration on illegal immigrants, combined with as of yet unfounded rumors of Cambodians having been killed by the Thai authorities, has triggered a feeling of insecurity among the Cambodian community in Thailand, sufficient to make them head back to their village. All of them…
For many it is back to square one: having left because migrating to Thailand is the only solution to provide some revenue to the family, the returnees now find themselves facing the same issue of unemployment in a country which should seriously question its ability to provide jobs for its citizens.
The Cambodian authorities and a couple of NGO’s (the U.N.’s I.O.M., Samaritan’s Purse) have spared no effort to alleviate the immediate pressure on the border town of Poipet by that many returnees going home in such a short period of time, providing medical assistance, army trucks to bring back the migrants to their home provinces, and distributing food upon their arrival.
The crisis at the border was rather well managed. The government now will have to address the core of the problem: unemployment.