A womam who went to Malaysia five years ago to work as a maid returned to Cambodia on Saturday confused and barely able to speak, the woman’s mother and NGO representatives said yesterday.
“She did not know me as her mother and also did not recognise her father,” said Em Sovan, 54, mother of 27-year-old Moa Latty.
Sovan and her husband hurried from Battambang to Phnom Penh after rights group Licadho told them Phnom Penh International Airport staff had found Latty, lost and apparently mentally unwell.
“The people at the airport called me and said a woman is standing alone and mentally ill. She did not know or respond to anyone,” said Licadho officer Sen Choa Sok, who used Latty’s passport to locate her family.
“I was shocked when I saw my daughter,” Sovan said, adding Latty had been perfectly well before she left for Malaysia with in 2007 through Human Power – a recruitment agency that has sent several maids into abuse, according to NGOs and the women’s families.
While changing Latty’s clothes, Sovan said found $2,100 in her daughter’s pocket.
“I do not know if it is her salary or compensation from her boss. When I asked her, she did not answer,” Sovan said. “I did not want to get money. I just want my daughter to have good mental and physical health.”
Latty has been sent to rehabilitation NGO Hagar, Sok and Sovan said.
“We are not sure who sent her to Cambodia and she can’t talk much or even remember herself sometimes,” said Sothy Chrin, communications manager at Hagar.
Chrin said Hagar had given Vatty a psychological assessment and medical check-up but could not at that point offer information about what might have happened to her.
“She sits alone and walks alone around at Hagar,” Sovan said. “She does not speak out and she is not friendly with me or anyone else.”
Cambodia declared a moratorium on the sending maids to Malaysia in 2011, but the two countries have not yet been able to agree on a memorandum of understanding on the protection of domestic workers.
To contact the reporters on this story: Sen David at [email protected]
Justine Drennan at [email protected]