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Parents accept cash from labour agency

THE parents of a young woman who allegedly died due to poor living conditions at a labour recruitment firm in Phnom Penh said yesterday that they would not pursue a criminal case after accepting 1.2 million riels (US$283) in compensation.

Prim Mao said the VC Manpower Co gave her family the money last week after her daugher, Yun Mab, 21, died at one of its training centres.

“They told us to keep this case quiet and don’t tell anyone about this,” she said.

Yun Mab died in hospital on July 20 after falling ill. She had spent three months at the centre in Sen Sok district.

The woman’s parents say poor living conditions contributed to her death. But company officials and local authorities contend that Yun Mab died from a previously undiagnosed case of leukemia.

Ream Vy, the woman’s father, said the family does not believe the daughter had leukemia because she had been in good health when she started her training course.

“I feel regret with my daughter’s death because she was ready to fly to work in Malaysia, but she does not have the chance anymore,” he said.

She was ready to fly to work in Malaysia, but she does not have the chance anymore.

A company employee who answered the phone yesterday declined to discuss the case, saying it had been resolved.
An official who investigated separate complaints against VC Manpower and another agency also said the company was not at fault.

“The woman died last week from the leukemia disease. There is also a report from the hospital about her disease,” said Keo Thea, the director of the municipal anti-human trafficking and juvenile protection bureau.

The investigations into the two firms – VC Manpower and Champa Manpower Group – were launched after allegations surfaced that women and girls being trained to work as domestic servants had been subjected to unacceptable living conditions. Both firms are licensed by the Ministry of Labour to train and send workers abroad.

Officials first began investigating VC Manpower last week after one of the firm’s clients leaped from the second floor of its training centre and said she had been held there against her will. One week earlier, police raided Champa Manpower’s facilities in Russey Keo district after a district official said clients were kept in cramped quarters she compared to “duck or chicken cages”.

Last week, officials revealed that they had found 31 underage girls at both firms. Under the 1995 sub-decree allowing the export of Cambodian labour, all workers must be at least 18 years old.

However, officials have said the companies were not at fault because the girls had allegedly faked identification documents indicating they were of
age.

“They lied to the company that they are 18 years old,” said Nhem Kimhouy, a Labour Ministry official.

In the aftermath of the investigations this month, the Labour Ministry barred both companies from recruiting new workers. Yesterday, Nhem Kimhouy confirmed that VC Manpower has been permitted to operate as normal, though the restriction remains in place for Champa.

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