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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - ‘Maid brokers’ on the stand

‘Maid brokers’ on the stand

A teenager was one of 13 girls locked inside a recruitment  company’s offices in the capital last year after being promised work as a maid in Malaysia, she told the Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday.

The court yesterday tried three people over alleged illegal detention and human trafficking involving the Century Manpower recruitment company.

Presiding Judge Duch Kimsorn said Sao Syneng, Century Manpower’s administrative chief; Ngeth Sotheara, the company’s marketing manager; and Cheab Vannaraen, a labour broker, were tried for allegations dating back to September in the Sen Sok district.

Chum Chanika, chief of the Anti-Human Trafficking and Juvenile Protection Office, said the suspects were arrested in October after a report from the mother of  Tak Thon, 14.

Tak Thon says she was approached by Cheab Vannaraen, who claimed she was recruiting maids to work in Malaysia, promising US$4,000 for a two-year contract.

Tak Thon testified that while being trained at Century Manpower’s offices, she was locked in the premises with another 12 girls. After police refused to supply her with a passport based on falsified identity papers, she was brought to work as a cleaner for Cheab Vannaraen’s mother.

“I worked there for four days, and I then escaped to my mother in Russei Keo,” Tak Thon said.

She wants US$5,000 compensation from the three suspects.

Sao Syneng and Ngeth Sotheara have denied the charges, but Cheab Vannaraen has confessed to the crimes in court.

“I decided to persuade Tak Thon to work as a maid in Malaysia because I pitied her, as her family was very poor,” she said. The verdicts will be handed down on April 30.

To contact the reporter on this story: Buth Reaksmey Kongkea at buthreaksmey.kongkea@phnompenhpost.com

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