Fourteen Cambodians, including three children, were repatriated last month from China and Malaysia after embassies in those countries worked with local authorities to rescue them.
In a statement released on Monday, Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Chum Sounry said the Cambodian embassy in Kuala Lumpur cooperated with Malaysian authorities to prepare the return of seven nationals, four women and three men, who were working as housemaids, and one of the women’s children.
Their visas had expired and they sought help from the embassy to return home, said Sounry. They were from Phnom Penh and Kampong Thom, Kratie, Takeo and Battambang provinces.
“The embassy had issued the Malaysian immigration office with official letters to facilitate their return between June 23 and 29,” he said.
Sounry also confirmed that the Cambodian Embassy in Beijing had worked with Chinese authorities to repatriate four women from Kampong Cham, Takeo and Prey Veng provinces.
He said they had entered into arranged marriages with the help of an illegal broker. One of the women even conceived a child. Unhappy in their marriages, the four women sought help to be returned home.
“The [Cambodian] embassy provided places to stay and food, and helped with documents. They returned on the night of June 28,” Sounry said.
Moeurn Tola, executive director of anti-trafficking NGO Center for Alliance of Labor and Human Rights, said he supported embassy involvement when Cambodians are victimised abroad.
But he wondered whether the government had plans to prevent so many Cambodians falling for fraudulent or illegal schemes.
“The deceptions still continue to happen. Do we have strategies to prevent them from happening again? The punishment for brokers is not strong either. And only minor brokers get punished, while the major ones remain untouched,” he said.