In a move to improve labour conditions for Cambodian migrant workers, the International Labour Organization (ILO), with support from the EU, is set to release a comprehensive report today (July 4) focused on the governance framework of Cambodia’s labour migration, particularly in the fishing and seafood processing sectors, according to a July 4 press release from the organisation. The event will be held at the ILO Office and feature a panel discussion with representatives from the ILO regional office, the government and civil society organisations (CSOs) with the aim of addressing the critical issues facing Cambodian migrant workers and propose actionable solutions. The press release said the report, titled "Cambodia’s Labour Migration Governance Framework: A Comparative Analysis with International Labour Standards for Recruitment, Work in Fishing and Forced Labour", underscores significant gaps in legal protections for these workers. It said that despite the country’s progress in developing its labour migration policy, challenges remain, especially for migrant fishers who often cannot migrate through regular channels. The report reveals insufficient enforcement of sanctions against recruitment agencies and inadequate remedies for migrant workers, which fail to deter abuses. "The findings of this report are useful in informing our efforts to strengthen the related policies and laws. The [labour ministry] has been working closely with key stakeholders in both Cambodia and Thailand to make sure the necessary labour and social protections are in place so that Cambodian migrant fishing and seafood processing workers can migrate safely and obtain decent work when they go abroad,” Hou Vuthy, secretary of state at the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training, is quoted as saying in the release. The report points out that many migrant workers resort to irregular channels due to the high costs, long waiting times and complexity of the official process. It said this is particularly true in the fishing sector, where recruitment for work in Thailand is currently prohibited by the government. However, in light of improvements in labour rights protections for migrant fishers in Thailand, the report notes that the government is considering lifting this ban and developing new policies and procedures to facilitate legal migration. "The EU strongly supports this initiative by the Government of Cambodia to improve its labour migration governance framework for the fishing and seafood processing sectors by bringing its policies and laws in line with international labour standards. Advancing commitments to respect human rights within the seafood supply chain is a key EU policy priority for our bilateral relationships in the ASEAN region," said EU ambassador to Cambodia Igor Driesmans. The ILO report provides five key recommendations to strengthen Cambodia's labour migration governance framework: Develop a national labour migration law to expand labour and social protections for all migrant workers; lift the ban on the deployment of migrant fishers; negotiate a bilateral agreement between Cambodia and Thailand on labour migration in the fishing sector; elevate the Policy on Labour Migration for Cambodia from a ministerial to a national policy; and ratify the Private Employment Agencies Convention (No. 181), the Protocol of 2014 to the Forced Labour Convention (No. 29) and the Work in Fishing Convention (No. 188). Xiaoyan Qian, ILO country director for Thailand, Cambodia and Laos, highlighted the importance of these steps. "Ratification [by Cambodia] of the international labour standards for recruitment, work in fishing and forced labour is a crucial step forward in addressing the specific vulnerabilities of migrant workers in the fishing and seafood processing sectors through ensuring that adequate legal protections are in place. This new ILO report provides a clear roadmap for achieving these goals," he said.