An official at the Community Legal Education Centre said yesterday that the group had received calls from four women training at the IIS labour recruitment company in Phnom Penh accusing the facility of false detention.
The women, aged between 18 and 24, said they were not allowed to visit family for months at a time, a claim the company denies, and were being asked to pay US$1,500 to be released form their contractual commitment to work for two years in Malaysia, according to Chhon Sokha, a labour program unit officer at CLEC.
Chhon Sokha said she received calls on Thursday morning from four workers living at IIS recruitment company’s offices, located in the capital’s Dangko district, who wanted to return to their families, but were unable to afford the additional $1,500 debt that would be added to the $200 dollars they already owed the company for training and administrative costs.
Hay Chetra, 20, one of the four trainees, said the company refused to give her permission to visit her family in her homeland, so she no longer wanted to fulfill her obligation to work overseas.
“I previously worked in Malaysia through another recruitment firm,” said Hay Chetra. “But while staying with IIS they have been so strict with us. So I don’t want this job anymore. I miss my parents.”
Thach Sotharath, the director of IIS, said workers were allowed to visit home two to three times during their three months living in the company’s Phnom Penh training facilities, but added that the company required express permission from parents or official guardians.