Nearly 30 maids and fishermen were saved from harsh conditions in Malaysia and South Africa in the second half of June and will be repatriated next month, thanks to interventions by the Cambodian government and the International Organization for Migration, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Of the 28, 12 were arrested in Malaysia when the broker that arranged for their emigration went out of business, invalidating their work papers.
“They were found working illegally, and were detained by Malaysia immigration police,” a Foreign Ministry press release said Friday.
One maid was saved from mistreatment and overwork at the hands of her employer, and has already been repatriated.
Another is in a Malaysian hospital after contracting tuberculosis.
Ten more are at the Cambodian Embassy, where they’ve been stuck since their employer refused to pay them upon completing their contracts.
Four fishermen are also awaiting repatriation in South Africa after escaping harsh working conditions on a boat owned by Giant Ocean International Fishery Co Ltd.
“The Cambodian government . . . suggested [through the South African embassy in Bangkok, which has an embassy there] that South Africa take care of them and provide for their safety and shelter before cooperating with the IOM to repatriate them as soon as possible,” the release states.
Lim Mony, deputy head of the women’s section for the rights group Adhoc, stressed the difficulty of contacting workers abroad when their brokers go out of business, but lauded the government’s efforts.
“It is a huge intervention and amount of help for only the month of June . . . but there are still a lot more victims abroad,” she said.
To contact the reporter on this story: Sen David at [email protected]