THE director of a labour firm accused of mistreating its trainees is on the run after evading an arrest attempt by city police yesterday, an official said.
Police began investigating the head of the VC Manpower training centre in Sen Sok district after a woman filed a complaint against the man on August 2, saying he had prevented her daughter from leaving the facility during a three-month training period.
Pol Khemra, deputy director of the Department of Police at the Interior Ministry, said yesterday that the Phnom Penh Municipal Court issued a warrant for the man’s arrest last week, but that police officials had wanted more time to investigate and had been “too busy” to make the arrest until today, when they discovered they were too late.
“The ministry officials and the authorities planned to go to the company in order to arrest the company director, but he escaped,” he said.
He said that police did not have any leads as to the man’s whereabouts, but would continue to investigate the case.
VC Manpower, which trains young women to work abroad as domestic servants, first came under scrutiny last month when a woman fled one of its training centres and said she had been held against her will. Days later, authorities announced they had found 24 underage girls being trained by the company. The Labour Ministry initially barred the firm from recruiting clients, but then absolved it of wrongdoing soon after.
At the centre yesterday, two women said they also planned to file complaints against the company for not allowing them to have contact with their daughters.
Ly Yang, 43, said she went to visit the centre yesterday after receiving a distraught phone call from her daughter.
“My 15-year-old daughter Min Habtas called me and begged me to take her home because she is living in a very difficult situation and she is not allowed to go out to buy something to eat,” she said, and she was very concerned about her daughter’s health.She said a VC Manpower
official had shouted at her when she asked to see her daughter.
“I saw my daughter from the ground – she was on the balcony of the company building – she looks thin and pale,” she said.
Kob Eysas, 51, said she had gone to visit the centre after her daughter and niece told her that workers had been given spoiled food during their 10-week training period.
“I will try my best to take my daughter out from this company because they broke a promise with us,” she said, and added that the company had an obligation to take care of its trainees.
Sen Ly, the overall director of VC Manpower, said yesterday that he was unaware of the mothers’ concerns.
“I am busy travelling to Preah Vihear. I don’t have time to talk with reporters,” he said.
There are 28 organisations licensed by the Labour Ministry to train and send workers abroad.
Last month, officials also investigated two other sanctioned recruitment firms after trainees said they were subject to illegal detention.