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Girl freed from T&P training centre

Women walk at the T&P Co Ltd training centre in Phnom Penh in March.

The Association of Cambodian Recruitment Agencies will consider kicking its most notorious member, T&P Co Ltd, out of the association if the company is found to have falsified documents to conceal the age of a 15-year-old girl rescued from its training centre last week.

ACRA president An Bunhak said yesterday a committee of its board would meet and decide T&P’s fate once it received a police report detailing the circumstances of how the girl’s birth certificate and passport were falsified.  

“For sure, if we find the training centre has again broken Cambodian law we will request the labour [ministry] punish this company,” he said. “We have contacted the Kampong Chhnang police to obtain a police report, and then we will have a meeting with the Ministry of Labour together with the anti-trafficking police.”

T&P has been embroiled in controversy since a woman died in its now defunct Phnom Penh training centre in March.

The 15-year-old girl was rescued from T&P’s Kampong Chhnang training facility on Friday in a combined operation by rights groups and anti-trafficking police. She is being sheltered in the offices of an international organisation that has asked not to be identified. She was sent to T&P by her aunt, who received a broker’s fee on August 3, and was subsequently provided with false identity documents by company staff, her father said yesterday.

“I filed the complaint to the provincial authorities to rescue my daughter, and I complained that the center had been cheating [her]. I will sue my sister-in-law, who tried to cheat my daughter into working in Malaysia,” he said. “I don’t want my daughter to return home because I’m worried about her security.”

An Bunhak said that if T&P broke the law, it could be issued a verbal warning, a written warning or be suspended from the association. ACRA would urge authorities to file criminal charges against the company, he said, if they broke the law.

“Who changed the documents? They must be convicted under the criminal law of Cambodia,” he said.

Sam Piseth, director of the T&P training center, could not be reached for comment yesterday. Prak Sao Ny, a provincial deputy police chief in charge of human trafficking, said criminal investigations would be launched into the activities of both T&P and the girl’s aunt.

In related cases, another 15-year-old trainee was rescued from Centaury Manpower’s Phnom Penh training centre on July 29, and a 17-year-old girl from Battambang was prevented from signing up as a domestic migrant worker with Ung Rithy on July 25, Huy Pich Sovann, a programme officer at the Community Education Legal Centre, said yesterday.

Neither company could be reached for comment yesterday, but An Bunhak said all recruitment firms should be carefully monitored by authorities and those that broke laws should be prosecuted.

“We don’t support keeping illegal activities quiet,” he said.

Meanwhile, a 25-year-old Cambodian domestic worker in Malaysia, Neak Ban, was rescued by police from abusive employers, the New Straits Times reported on Saturday. Her employers allegedly beat her repeatedly and forced her to work 17-hour days with only one meal a day, the newspaper reported.

These latest cases of underage recruitment and abuse follow Prime Minister Hun Sen’s approval of a sub-decree last week on the management of Cambodian domestic migrant works, in a plenary session of the Council of Ministers.



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