CARAM Cambodia has a vision for all people to have their rights to stay or move, and to live and work with equal rights in a society where their quality of life is ensured. Its mission is to empower migrant workers and their communities through the promotion and the protection of their rights and the creation of an enabling environment at all stages of migration to reduce HIV/AIDS and other vulnerabilities related to labour migration, health and migrantsâ€™ rights.
CARAM Cambodia was established as a local NGO in 1999, and registered with the Ministry of Interior in 2000. Since its inception, CARAM Cambodia has worked closely with migrant and mobile populations in Cambodia in the areas of prevention and protection against labour exploitation and HIV/AIDS, and in the promotion and protection of migrant workers rights. Operating through its two program departments: (1) Action Research, Advocacy and Support Program, and (2) Migrant and Mobile Population (MMP) Intervention Program, CARAM Cambodiaâ€™s activities have included pre-departure training of domestic workers; case-handling and legal support for migrant workers to ensure access to justice; safe repatriation and reintegration of victims of human trafficking and labour exploitation; and, outreach education and referral service to entertainment workers on reproductive health rights, HIV/AIDS and effects of drug use. Through CARAM Cambodiaâ€™s outreach programs from 2005 to 2009, over 40 entertainment workers have been selected as peer educators to facilitate future trainings. Many more have left the entertainment industry to start up their small businesses.
CARAM Cambodia has actively advocated at national and regional levels for the development, ratification, implementation and enforcement of national laws, international conventions and standard setting instruments that promote and protect the rights of migrant workers. A key achievement was CARAM Cambodiaâ€™s successful lobbying in 2010 to the Royal Government of Cambodia to issue a sub-decree on free of charge passports to migrant workers, and PRAKAS #108 on pre-departure training and post return program for migrant workers.
CARAM Cambodia today
Presently, CARAM Cambodia is working in partnership with Khmer HIV/AIDS NGO Alliance (KHANA) in a Sustainable Action against HIV/AIDS in Community (SAHACOM) Project funded by USAID. Through the Open Society Institute (OSI, funded by the George Soros Foundation), CARAM Cambodia continues to provide legal and social support to female migrant workers.
CARAM Cambodia is shortly to commence its role as part of a larger 5 year anti-trafficking project (funded by USAID, through Winrock International), as well as in a 3 year regional coordinated effort to provide legal and social support for female migrant workers (funded by UN Trust Fund, through CARAM Asia). Through its own strategic Migrant Worker Empowerment Program, CARAM Cambodiaâ€™s responsibilities in the two projects include the development of training and awareness-raising materials (IEC); pre-departure training for women domestic workers; organisation of media broadcasts to disseminate safe migration messages; capacity building of local authorities to implement and enforce laws and regulations relating to labour migration; development of a case handling and referral mechanism for cases relating to labour exploitation and trafficking; establishment of safe migration centres; provision of paralegal training; and, provision of legal and social support for female migrant workers.
CARAM Cambodia is an active member of regional and national networks on labour migration and human rights including CARAM Asia, Migrant Forum in Asia (MFA), Mekong Migration Network (MMN), Task Force for ASEAN Migrant Workers (TFAMW), Cambodian Human Rights ActionrnCommittee (CHRAC), Cambodian Committee of Women (CAMBOW) and the NGO Committee on CEDAW. CARAM Cambodia is currentlyrnthe focal point for both MFA and TFAMW and in 2012, will function as Secretariat when Cambodia hosts the 5th ASEAN Forum on Migrant Workers to push for the ASEAN Framework Instrument for the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers to be adopted by ASEAN governments.
CARAM Cambodia will continue to work closely with its key target groups, namely migrant workers and mobile populations within Cambodia, and Cambodian nationals who have migrated abroad to seek employment, particularly as domestic workers. It will continue to actively collaborate with regional partners to mobilise action for the protection of domestic workers, and will continue to advocate for the ratification, implementation and enforcement of legislative instruments to protect migrant workers rights at national and regional levels.
Recognising that Cambodia has made significant achievement in the halting and reversal of the spread of HIV/AIDS, and recognising that this decline in HIV prevalence owes much to the rapid and coordinated response of the government in collaboration with non-government and civil society organisations, CARAM Cambodia further aims to use its experiences and expertise in HIV/AIDS prevention among vulnerable mobile populations and its good relations with government organisations, international and local NGOs, as well as local and regional networks, to facilitate the improvement of health and other vulnerabilities affecting migrant workers.
CARAM Cambodia further has plans to carry out participatory action research among mobile populations in Cambodia, particularly in the areas of new labour recruitment trends, underlying vulnerabilities of prospective migrants and livelihood opportunities for returned migrants.