PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) — Cambodia enacted a regulation Wednesday to protect nightclub hostesses and other adult entertainment workers under the same laws that protect other workers' rights, a move that was hailed by the U.N.'s labor body.
The regulation specifies that nightlife workers have the same rights under laws and international agreements recognized for more conventional industries but often not applied to a sector that is frequently treated as informal labor.
The statement from the labor and tourism ministries said the regulation seeks to address problems such as poor occupational safety, violence, sexual harassment and excessive working hours. It also sought to eliminate forced labor and related violations such as penalties, reduced wages and forced abortions.
U.N. International Labor Organization Asia-Pacific director Yoshiteru Uramoto said in a statement that entertainment workers in Cambodia and throughout the region face labor-related violations that infringe on their human rights.
"Cambodia's effort was ground-breaking, as it dares to reach into a sector where most governments fail to provide adequate protection." Uramoto said.
Workers at establishments such as nightclubs, discotheques, karaoke parlors and beer gardens are often at extra risk because such places can be venues for disguised or informal prostitution.