“I would like to come back in Cambodia and open my own business, even if now it’s not possible because I don’t have enough money”.

Mrs. Chan Thorn

Chan Thorn’s success story

Despite the difficulties, the story of Chan Thorn is a success story about labor migration. Chan Thorn has a long working experience in Thailand, she moved in the country 7 years ago, for finding a stable job.

In 2012, at 30 years old, together with her husband, she decided to go to Thailand to search for economic stability.  In this occasion, she migrated with the help of a local broker that offered them a work in construction.

Many villagers in Cambodia are approached by brokers, offered work in Thailand without or with incomplete documentation, and sometimes even smuggled through the border, for a lesser cost and faster than the regular process.

“After 5 days I understood that the employee didn’t care about us”, she says. “And the salary was very low”.

Thanks to the support of a friend, they managed to find a job with another company, in Pattaya. Currently, she is paid almost 300 USD per month. The average monthly salary of a migrant worker in Thailand is 163 USD and 137 USD in Malaysia, according to the International Labor Organization (ILO).

“There is a feeling of mutual trust between us and our employee”, she concludes.

Obtaining documents

Chan Thorn shows us all the documents she obtained, directly in Thailand. Passport, overseas Cambodian working card, work permit, health care card: she opens her official papers and proudly gives them to us as a proof of her efforts.

© Claudia Coppi/WeWorld-GVC

“I paid 20,000 Bath (640 USD) for all these documents” she adds. “I knew that this was not the right amount, but what was I supposed to do?”

In fact, the fees for the National Verification (NV) process to obtain legal documents in Thailand are fixed at 4,360 Bath (136 USD) for Cambodian migrants, almost five times less expensive.

As Vichet, our local facilitator, explained during the Self-Help Group, in order to start working in Thailand in a legal, documented way, you need to follow certain procedures and obtain 4 documents in Cambodia, before the depart.

How is your everyday life in Thailand?

When we ask Chan Thorn about her routine in Thailand, she seems very serene, she shows us a picture of a white house, with her posing in front of it. She built it.  She explains that normally she starts working at 8am and finishes at 5pm. “Only the lunch break is not counted in the salary”, she adds.

Furthermore, she speaks Thai fluently, her husband too. Her elder son can freely attend school, while the other one is just 5 months. At the moment she’s integrated in Thailand, but her family is in Cambodia and in the future she would like to come back and start her own business.

“I would like to come back in Cambodia and open my own business, even if now it’s not possible because I don’t have enough money”.

© Claudia Coppi/WeWorld-GVC

Chan Thorn was taking part in the Self-Help Group with the other villagers, during her visit to her mother in Cambodia, in Siem Reap province. These meetings are organized by GVC as part of the MIG-RIGHT project to raise awareness about migrant workers’ rights. Her story is a positive example that could reduce the information gap and raise awareness on what documents are needed and what procedures must be followed for working in Thailand.