LABOUR advocates say five more workers have fled from a recruitment firm’s training centre this month after they were denied permission to leave the facility.
The new report comes on the heels of multiple cases of alleged abuse forwarded to rights workers, who in response have raised fresh concerns regarding the country’s rapidly expanding labour export industry.
Huy Pichsovann, a labour programme officer at the Community Legal Education Centre, said CLEC staffers interviewed five women yesterday who said they fled the Phnom Penh training centre run by PMP Company on August 16.
“I met the workers and asked why they fled the company, and they said because the company detained them without having freedom, not enough food to eat and they were forced to sleep among too many workers,” Huy Pichsovann said.
He said that CLEC investigators would ask for an explanation from the company.
Phat Samol, PMP’s executive director, yesterday contradicted the women’s claims.
“Those five workers escaped because they didn’t want to work in Malaysia,” he said.
Phat Samol said the company doesn’t force workers to stay, but asks them to pay a fee if they choose to leave before their contracts are complete.
He said the company has been licensed by the Labour Ministry since 2007 to train and send workers abroad.
Hou Vudthy, deputy director of the Employment Department at the Labour Ministry, said officials would investigate the allegations.
Cambodia’s labour export industry has been thrust under the public spotlight in recent weeks after police raids on training centres and allegations of illegal detention.
Officials have pledged stricter regulations for the industry and issued warnings to firms.
Huy Pichsovann said CLEC staffers would continue visiting other parts of the country to investigate similar claims.
“It’s like rights abuse to our people, who face difficult lives. It is a violation of the laws of our people,” Huy Pichsovann said of the alleged misconduct.