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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Investigation begins into a second labour agency

Investigation begins into a second labour agency

OFFICIALS have launched an investigation into a labour firm after one of its clients leaped from the second floor of a training centre in Sen Sok district and said she had been held there against her will.

The incident made VC Manpower Co the second firm registered with the Ministry of Labour to face scrutiny in a week.

Leng Sokleap said yesterday that she had tried to escape from the training centre on Sunday because staff members had refused to allow her to visit her family.

“The company owner does not allow anyone in the company to leave because he is afraid the workers won’t come back,” she said.

The 24-year-old suffered injuries to her back and was recovering at Preah Kossamak Hospital yesterday.

She said she had been staying at the training centre for three months in order to complete a preparation programme for maids looking to work in Malaysia. The company coralled the workers into cramped 7-by-10-metre rooms, she said.

“They always locked us in the room as prisoners,” she said.

Keo Thea, director of the municipal Anti-Human Trafficking and Juvenile Protection Bureau, said yesterday that police were in the early stages of investigating the company.

Oum Mean, secretary of state at the Labour Ministry, said the company was registered with the ministry, and that officials planned to invite company representatives for a meeting to explain the situation.

“It is wrong if a company detains a lot of workers to stay in a small room, but we cannot say that company is illegal. It has made a mistake by not preparing a suitable place for workers,” Oum Mean said.

Company representatives weren’t available for comment.

On July 12, the Champa Manpower Group was accused of forcing more than 200 prospective migrant workers to live in squalid conditions while they underwent training.

After visiting the firm’s three Russey Keo district villas two days later, officials said it would be permitted to expand in order to better accommodate clients.

The company acknowledged that a few women had been prohibited from leaving because they had threatened to break their contracts. Keo Thea said they would be allowed to go after they reimbursed the company for various expenses.

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