Cambodia: "HUMAN COST", a photo exhibition

In commemoration of International Migrants Day, 18th of December, George Nickels and Gruppo di Volontariato Civile (GVC) pay tribute to Cambodian migrants and their families and uncover their stories. Human Cost is a selection of photographs and testimonials that were captured during the course of several visits throughout 2016 whilst accompanying GVC field workers in different provinces and communes in Cambodia as part of the European Union funded project. The exhibition takes place on the 18th and will be showing until the 29th of December, located at Mirage, Siem Reap, Cambodia.


Hundreds of thousands of Cambodians migrate to Thailand in search of work each year. They search for greater employment opportunities to sustain them and their families. Both Cambodia and Thailand have put in place many measures to strengthen the labour migration system, such as providing training to its officials and promoting a set of good practices to prevent its citizens from entering a life of enslavement and abuse. There are however, still some pending issues: the complexity of the legal migration process, costly and time-consuming procedures. Poverty and economic constraints become a necessity for Cambodians to migrate for work. Due to their urgency to leave, migrant workers are more vulnerable to trafficking and exploitation, many of them choose to migrate without the correct documents, or none at all. In most cases, they entrust their lives to brokers. Many of the Cambodians do not know where their work placement is located and what kind of job they are going to be doing. However, in some cases the workers are more fortunate: their employer pays them regularly, does not retain their documents and pays compensation in case of injury. Many others are not. George Nickels met several returned migrants and their families while accompanying field workers from GVC during their monthly Self-Help Group meetings held in numerous locations throughout Provinces in Cambodia. GVC meetings give the returned men and women a rare chance to talk about the legal migration procedures. Thanks to their stories, potential migrants are informed on what to be aware of when considering migrating in search of employment abroad, and where to look for assistance if required. Self-Help Groups offer a chance for those who have returned to open up and talk about their experiences. George Nickels is a freelance photojournalist, and the focus of his work covers social conflict and humanitarian issues across Asia. His in-depth photography and editorial provide an often un-reported aspect of current affairs and news. His work is regularly published in leading magazines and newspapers worldwide. GVC is an Italian, humanitarian, non-governmental, non-profit organisation working in 24 countries throughout the world. GVC started operating in Cambodia in 2006. Since then, it has been committed to promote the respect and advocacy of the rights of vulnerable communities, employing its vision of dignity, information exchange and reciprocity. Starting from 2013, GVC has been working in preventing unsafe labour migration in order to protect the rights of Cambodian migrants (particularly women and children) and reduce their vulnerability to labour exploitation and human trafficking. GVC cooperates with its local partners: Cambodian Women Crisis Centre, Legal Support for Children and Women and in coordination with the Anti Trafficking Committee at national and provincial level (NCCT, PCCT) and a number of actors involved in fighting human exploitation.


George Nickels

In cooperation with GVC.
Project co-funded by the European Union.

18th of December, 18:00
Closing party: 29th of December, 18:00
Screening of the documentary “Homeward” by Mario Piredda (produced by GVC and Elenfant Film)

Venue: Street. 27, Wat Bo Road, Siem Reap, Cambodia
Opening hours December 18-29.
Monday – Sunday, 10:00 – 18:00

Free Admission
Facebook event

For media related inquiries, please contact:
Katarzyna Sumislawska
GVC Communication and Advocacy Department
t. +855 63900045
m. +855 968218728



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