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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Maid ban breached

Maid ban breached

At least six migrant domestic workers flew to Malaysia today in contravention of a ban the Cambodian labour recruitment industry’s peak association had imposed just the day before.

A ticket seen by the Post confirmed that at least one of the domestic workers was a recruit from Century Manpower, a firm where five underage recruits were found during police raids earlier this month.

The ticket shows that 23-year-old Kheng Sokleng, pictured above, was booked for the AK272 AirAsia flight to Kuala Lumpur.

A woman who answered the phone at Century Manpower said she did not know the number of her boss, and An Bunhak, president of the Association of Cambodian Recruitment Agencies, did not answer yesterday.

But Mathieu Pellerin, a consultant with the rights group Licadho, confirmed he had seen a group of six domestic workers and another separate individual recruit headed to board a flight to Malaysia.

“The group of six confirmed they were going to clean houses, but when we asked which company they were from, they all said 'I don’t remember I don’t remember,' under the vigilant eye of one of their keepers," said

On Thursday, ACRA called a press conference in which president An Bunhak announced the association would effectively regulate itself by suspending its members from sending any domestic workers to Malaysia, regardless of whether they already had contracts or passports.

Mouen Tola, head of the labour program at the Community Legal Education Centre, said he felt ACRA "just speaks - they do not apply their word if that happened.”

ACRA’s decision followed Prime Minister Hun Sen’s announcement on October 14 that all labour firms would be banned from recruiting, training and sending domestic workers to Malaysia.

On Monday, the Ministry of Labour contradicted this order by deciding that some 3,000 recruits who already had travel documents and contracts could still be sent to Malaysia.



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