Labour Program Unit 

Problem & Context

The Cambodian labor force in the primary sector, mainly agriculture, has decreased from 85 to 55 percent over the last two decades.[1] Globalization has seen increase of employment and higher productivity in modern manufacturing, notably the garment industry and in urban services, replacing much of Cambodia's agricultural heritage. The services sector is now defined by poverty wages, exploitative short-term contracts and forced and bonded labor. Further, those that attempt to organize, associate and collectively bargain meet violence and criminal charges.   

Cambodia is witnessing an influx of approximately 250,000 new workers into the job market each year and this will continue in the coming years due to its young population.[2] This has resulted in an increase in Cambodian migrant workers seeking better wages. Human and labor trafficking has consequently become commonplace with Cambodian migrant workers encountering modern-day slavery, abuse and even death during employment abroad.



[1] CSES2004 Study from the National Institute of Statistics.

[2] Kingdom of Cambodia (MoLVT/ILO), Policy on Labor Migration for Cambodia, June (2010), p.9.