Photo by: Heng Chivoan
Heng Hak, 31, recovers from her injuries after jumping from a balcony at the T&P recruitment agency’s training centre in Phnom Penh’s Sen Sok district in March.
A woman, who claims that she became disabled after jumping off a balcony to escape a labour recruitment company in Phnom Penh, appeared in court yesterday to request compensation and the closure of the firm.
Heng Hak, 31, broke both of her legs in March while trying to escape the office of T&P Co Ltd, a firm based in Sen Sok district that trains domestic workers for employment in Malaysia.
At Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday, accompanied by her lawyer, she appeared for initial questioning regarding her bid for 32 million riel (around US$8,000) in compensation and the company’s dissolution.
After the hearing, she told The Post that she had decided to escape after being refused permission to leave the firm’s office to visit her two children.
“I asked the company many times. I missed [my children] so much and I worried about their safety as well,” Heng Hak said.
“[The company] denied me permission, so I decided to jump down even though I didn’t know whether I would die or stay alive. It was my last choice.” Yesterday, she claimed that the fall had left her disabled and unable to work to support her son, aged 13, and daughter, aged eight. “I pity my children very much. They cannot go to school because they have to take care of me,” she added. “I hope the court will find justice for me.”
Heng Hak added that she was afraid to return home after neighbours told her that T&P representatives had tried to find her. “I cannot say which NGO centre I am living at now because I am afraid the company staff will find me and do something bad to me,” she said.
Sam Piseth, director of T&P Recruitment Company, could not be reached for comment yesterday. A staff member, who declined to be named, said that the firm was not aware of the complaint. In March, a T&P trainer denied that the company had refused Heng Hak permission to see her children.
Moeun Tola, head of the labour programme at the Community Legal Education Centre, said yesterday that it was Heng Hak’s right to file a complaint.
He added that since the start of last year, there had been 20 cases of people trying to escape labour training centres because of strict living conditions.
Municipal Court officials could not be reached.