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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Woman flees labour firm

Woman flees labour firm

A DOMESTIC worker seeking refuge in the Cambodian embassy in Malaysia has alleged she was forcibly detained by a labour agency and mistreated by her employer, her husband said yesterday.

Va Sokhoeun, 38, reportedly told her husband that T&P labour firm had forcibly detained her since she fled to their offices from her employer’s house on May 26. She alleged that her employer had withheld her pay for seven months and that she had been subjected to a sexual assault.

Her husband, who would only give his name as Dara because he works for the government and fears for his job, has made a desperate plea for authorities to help repatriate his wife.

“My wife ran out the room and went to the Cambodian Embassy for help, but she told me that the agency staff will come to take her back from the embassy. I’m really worried about her security,” he said.

“The agency staff detained her in the room without giving her rice to eat,” he said, adding she’d been forced to live on discarded vegetables and was currently sick.

T&P staff had also demanded US$650 to recuperate costs spent on her training and the cost of her flight home in order to repatriate her, he said.

Koy Kuong, spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said yesterday Va Sokhoeun had filed a sexual harassment complaint with Malaysian police against her former boss’s father. “She may still stay there [in Malaysia] for the investigation of her complaint and the embassy will try to coordinate for her return home very soon if the investigation is completed.”

But Ung Vantha, an official at the Cambodian embassy in Malaysia, said negotiations had to take place with T&P first to establish exactly what happened.

Late yesterday, Dara added that an embassy driver in Malaysia had told him that his wife had been returned to T&P. The claim could not be verified by The Post last night.

Moeun Tola, head of the labour programme at the Community Legal Education Centre, said yesterday he had offered to pay the cost of her return ticket as Va Sokhoeun required medical treatment. T&P, he claimed, had repeatedly been involved in scandals involving domestic workers that either disappeared in Malaysia or were abused.

Representatives of T&P could not be reached for comment yesterday.



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