An innovative employment service for low and unskilled workers that aims to provide information on safe local jobs as an alternative to unsafe migration has been launched in Cambodia. The platform, ‘Bong Pheak’, was developed by Open Institute, a partner of USAID’s Cambodia Countering Trafficking-in-Persons program implemented by Winrock International. Bong Pheak is a groundbreaking approach to tackling risky migration and vulnerability to human trafficking while providing a competitive and marked-based service to employers and job seekers.
The service was introduced to private sector, NGO and government representatives on the 19 October at an event attended by USAID Cambodia Deputy Mission Director Sean Callahan, Deputy Secretary General of the National Committee for Counter Trafficking H.E. Serey Leakana and Deputy Director of the National Employment Agency Hay Hun Leng.
Mr. Callahan emphasized the importance of the platform in helping low and unskilled workers find safe employment in Cambodia, stating that, “if they can find work near their families and communities, they’re less likely to become victims of trafficking.”
“If people have more choices, we believe they will take jobs within the country,” said Federico Barreras, Project Manager of Open Institute’s CTIP component.
A recent study commissioned by USAID found that, despite labor demand within Cambodia, workers migrate through unsafe channels to find work in countries like Thailand, leaving them at higher risk of trafficking and exploitation. Bong Pheak works to close the gap between those seeking employment and employers within Cambodia as an alternative to cross-border migration.
The Bong Pheak platform uses interactive voice technology and engages employers, employees and trusted intermediary sources of information such as friends and family members to increase awareness on safe employment opportunities within Cambodia. This is a culturally relevant system given the importance of trust and relationships in providing information in Cambodian society. In addition, Open Institute plans for the platform to be self-sustained through advertising revenue by the end of 2017.
To learn more about the Bong Pheak and to view the platform online, visit www.bongpheak.com.