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Labour agency investigated

Labour agency investigated

POLICE in Phnom Penh raided a labour recruitment training centre yesterday after a man complained that its director had refused to release his wife.

Chamkarmon district police officers dropped in on the training centre run by the firm APMN in the morning, said deputy district police chief Heang Tharet.

“We talked with the company staff about the complaint,” he said. “We told them that we cannot allow the woman to stay in this centre any longer because a man asked us to help his wife get out.”

The complainant, Prom Nai, said his wife, Kin Ya, had started training with the firm in July in the hope of becoming a domestic worker in
Malaysia.

But he said she wanted to quit because she was not permitted to leave the facility. The company, however, refused.

“The centre asked for US$975 from me if I wanted my wife to leave, but I don’t have that much money,” Prom Nai said.

Company officials agreed to a compromise fee of $300 following negotiations yesterday, he said.

Ben Sokpich, the chief of administration at the centre, yesterday confirmed that the company had agreed to accept a fee from the man in exchange for allowing his wife to leave.

“We asked for $975, but we accepted only $300 because we don’t want to have more problems for our centre,” she said.

Ben Sokpich rejected Prom Nai’s claims that workers were barred from leaving the training centre; they are only required to ask permission to leave, she said.

Sunday’s complaint comes as Labour Ministry officials deliberate ways of regulating the rapidly expanding labour recruitment industry, which has seen multiple new firms pop up in the last year in a bid to supply other countries with Cambodian labour.

Authorities have promised stricter rules in response to reports that women have been detained and forced to live in cramped quarters during training programmes.

Meanwhile, the father of a woman who died after falling ill at a centre run by a separate firm said yesterday that he planned to demand $20,000 in compensation, even though he had already agreed to a lesser payment of 1.2 million riels ($235).

Yun Mab died in hospital after she fell ill at a centre run by the firm VC Manpower.

Her father, Ream Vy, said that his daughter had bruises on her neck and face when she died.

However, the company said she died from a previously undiagnosed case of leukemia.

Sen Ly, VC Manpower’s director, could not be reached for comment.

An employee who answered the phone at the training centre yesterday, who declined to provide a name, said the company believed the case had been settled.

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