10 June 2012 at Meng Ieng Garment Factory


On 10 June 2012, under the collaboration with Meng Ieng garment factory and obtaining the financial support from the International Labour Organization– International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour (ILO-IPEC), “The Sensitization Campaign to Promote the Awareness of the Child Labour Issue on the 11th World Day against Child Labour” event was organized by Cambodian Federation of Employers and Business Associations (CAMFEBA). This historical event was honorably attended by the representatives of Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training, ILO-IPEC,CAMFEBA,Trade Unions including approximately 500 Meng Ieng garment factory workers.

The World Day against Child Labour was held with the aim of promoting awareness and action to tackle Child Labour issue. So far, the support for the World Day has been growing each year. This year, it was the first time that the employer organization, CAMFEBA, took the lead in organizing this meaningful example exposed to other employers within the strong message that all of employers shall play this sort of very significant role to make the social responsibility grow rapidly in order to response actively to the policy of elimination of child labor which is considered as sensitive issue in the society.

Obviously, Child Labour is one of the current challenging and sensitive issues that the government, employers, trade unions, NGOs and civil societies are faced and combating; not only in Cambodia, but also worldwide. Exploiting Child Labour only brings bad publicity. Using children will bring a lot of disadvantages:  harmful caused to a child’s health, his/her future growth (physically and mentality), etc. However, from the point of view of employers, especially employers in the formal sector, they have rejected the employment of the underage workers (those whose age are under the minimum legal requirement working age); due to the fact that employers have been standing on the social justice stance and understand that these workers are too young to be aware of the hazards at workplace. Physically and mentally, they are still weak to meet the production standard or the productivity target. Children should be at school, not at workplace. In addition, to get involved with the labour market at a very young age, they will lose their chances to get higher education to prospectively find a well-paid job that can help to lift them, their families, and communities out of a cycle of poverty. It would be worse than that, if they are involved in the worst forms of work. This may expose them to physical, psychological or moral suffering that can cause long term damage to their lives.

Being aware of such problems, CAMFEBA decided to work closely with ILO- IPEC to run a Joint Action Program on the Elimination of Child Labour and CAMFEBA are providing assistances to sensitize and mobilize participation of employers in Cambodia toward this great cause. In this regard, CAMFEBA also worked closely with GMAC, the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia within the attempts that the implementation of this project has been conducted widely and effectively in the private sector of Cambodia. As illustrated, this does not mean that child labour exists in the garment sector! Within more than 300,000 workers of GMAC members and wide diversity of background and hometown that those workers are stemming from, the sensitization mechanism to spread the message from those workers to their villages and communities on Child Labour subject matter will be effective at the grass root level.

Ultimately, we, CAMFEBA, are not only sharing the corporate social responsibility, but also making tremendous contribution and commitment to the achievement of the twin goals of the Royal Government of Cambodia on the child labour eliminationby 2015 and 2016.

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