Prime Minister Hun Sen has called for an end to discrimination against women working in the entertainment industry, underscoring their struggle to make a living. He urged the public to show compassion and respect, and asked authorities to act against those who engage in discriminatory or harassing behaviour.

The prime minister made the remarks during a June 8 meeting with over 18,000 workers from five large factories in the Samaki Meanchey district of Kampong Chhnang province. He reinforced the idea that these women are human beings, often balancing their night-time work with social service activities during the day.

“I call for an end to chauvinism against women working in the entertainment industry. Please do not discriminate against them. They are also human like us and sometimes work at entertainment centres at night, but wear the Cambodian Red Cross shirts for social work during the day,” he said.

He suggested that the spouses of provincial governors and deputy governors assist these women.

“We should not perceive singers, artists, or other women in the industry as ‘bad’ because they are simply trying to make a living,” he added.

The prime minister’s statements were supported by Ou Tep Phallin, president of the Cambodian Food and Service Workers Federation. Phallin also took the opportunity to call upon state institutions to actively oppose harassment and violence against women in the workplace, and uphold their rights to form federations or unions.

Phallin emphasised that discrimination is not solely about work and occupation.

“The labour law states this, but what we want to see is no leniency for individuals who commit violence or discrimination. In addition, there should be no tolerance for individuals or employers who discriminate against pregnant women,” she said.

Hun Sen recently pledged to provide defence lawyers for women working in entertainment services nationwide. This move aimed to safeguard the rights of these women, who are often subject to harassment and discrimination.