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Labour trainees free to leave

FOUR women who signed up to train with the labour-recruitment firm VC Manpower Company were released on Wednesday after they decided that they no longer wanted to pursue domestic worker positions in Malaysia, the Community Legal Education Centre said yesterday.

Huy Pichsovann, labour programme officer for CLEC, said the four women began the training session four months ago, but that he didn’t know when they decided not to complete it.

At first, he said, VC Manpower demanded that it be repaid US$700 loans given to each of the women, money they were expected to pay back after landing jobs abroad. But after officials from the Interior and Labour ministries intervened on Wednesday night, the women were allowed to return to their homes in Phnom Penh and in Kandal province, he said.

Huy Pichsovann said CLEC had received 11 complaints so far this year against VC Manpower. Earlier this month, Sen Ly, the company’s director, was arrested and charged after trainees said the company had held them against their will.

An Interior Ministry official who participated in the Wednesday talks, and who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to talk to the media, said yesterday that more talks would be held today to determine whether the women would be required to pay back their loans.

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