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Young housekeeper detained

Complaints were filed with the rights group Adhoc in Phnom Penh yesterday by a woman who claimed her niece, a housekeeper, had been illegally detained and abused in the home where she worked in Prey Veng province’s Preah Sdech district.

Yorng Yan, 46, said that her three nieces, aged 13, 15 and 23, who at one time were all employed at the same residence, had been abused and forced to work overtime without pay.

She said that on November 1, the family of the girls asked their employer to excuse them from work so they could return home for a visit.

The employer, who had loaned more than US$750 to the girls’ family, allowed the two younger girls to return home, but detained the eldest in the house because the loan had not been repaid by the family.

“We [the family] have borrowed so much money, and we intend to repay it by deducting money from the girls’ salary,” the victim’s aunt said.

She added that her 23-year-old niece had not been home in more than seven months.

“We met my niece in front of the homeowner’s residence to talk about the owed money,” she said.

Police from the Department of Anti-Human Trafficking and Juvenile Protection intervened and the girl was allowed to return home. No arrest was made, but the homeowner demanded repayment of his loan and threatened to sue the family.

The homeowner and the girls’ family met at the Adhoc office yesterday to find a resolution to the argument over the unpaid loan, but Yorng Yan said they had not yet reached a compromise.

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