The recruitment firm HRD Company had allegedly threatened the mother of two sisters working as maids in Malaysia, pressuring her to withdraw her NGO complaint seeking help in repatriating her daughters or risk having all communication with them cut, a rights group said yesterday.
Pov Chhan, 50, from Kampong Cham’s Kampong Siem district, filed a complaint with the Community Legal Education Center on Saturday after the second anniversary of the expiration of her daughters’ contracts, saying she had not heard from them, nor had they returned home.
“[On Sunday], the company called me by phone. They said: ‘You are so poor, if you file a complaint, you will not get any money from us’,” Chhan said yesterday.
“But I really do not want money; I just want my two daughters back home safely. I did not get their salary ever, not even 100 riel.”
Chhan said she had heard from her daughters only twice since they left at the beginning of 2010, and both times the sisters had been distressed.
“They called one time seeking help. One said she had been beaten and the other one was ordered to work as a maid for many houses,” she said.
“They said they wanted to come back home, but they were not allowed.”
Moeun Tola, head of the labour program at the Community Legal Education Center, said the NGO was investigating Chhan’s complaint and the allegation that HRD Company had threatened her to drop the complaint.
When contacted yesterday, an HRD Company representative, who declined to be named, would not comment on the allegation, but said he would pass on the information to his superiors.
Phnom Penh will host a regional conference today on migrant labour standards and human rights.
To contact the reporter on this story: Sen David at firstname.lastname@example.org