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Maid recounts Saudi Arabia

A maid who claims to have suffered physical and financial abuse at the hands of her Saudi Arabian employers was repatriated to her Kampong Cham province home yesterday.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs stepped in to bring Him Srey, a Khmer-Muslim maid, back to Cambodia after being alerted to news of her mistreatment in the Gulf nation.

Srey said that during her month-long stay in Saudi Arabia, she was hit and forced to work long hours without breaks on a diet of bread alone.

“Madam beat me, she blamed me and said I was always sick and could not work well,” Srey said. “I swear I will not go there ever again.”

Prior to taking up the domestic service post in Saudi Arabia, Srey said she was promised $300 a month in wages, but for her month of servitude she received less than $5.

The repatriation comes in the wake of a memorandum of understanding, signed earlier this month, to open a pipeline for Cambodians to work in Saudi Arabia.

The MoU attracted criticism, with workers’ advocates alleging slave-like conditions and shocking treatment for migrant workers in Saudi Arabia, but the Labour Ministry said it would strengthen legal protections for Cambodians.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Chum Sounry confirmed in a statement that the government had intervened to repatriate Srey.

Srey said she now plans to seek work in Cambodia.

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