A trainner at labour recruitment firm T&P Co Ltd said yesterday that the company, currently the focus of allegations of illegal detention of trainees, had moved from Phnom Penh’s Sen Sok district to a branch in Kampong Chhnang province.
The trainer, who declined to be named, said that she had heard the company director say it would be easy in the new centre because he could give money to local authorities if there was a problem.
“I so pity all those workers because they aren’t allowed to go out from the centre and some workers are forced to stay in the company nearly a year, and when they need to go home the company director asks them to pay money,” she said, adding that she planned to leave the company when she had received her salary.
T&P, which trains women for domestic work abroad, has come under scrutiny since a 35-year-old trainee died last Sunday. Another trainee broke both legs jumping from the T&P building on March 1 and current trainees said they were being held against their will.
Five women have since been released from the centre.
Keo Thea, director of the municipal human trafficking and juvenile protection bureau, said the court was processing the case of the two workers.
“Our police officials still keep watching on the case, but until now there have been no new developments,” he said.
Keo Thea added that the bureau was investigating T&P and other recruitment firms and would take legal measures if they found problems.
An Bun Hak, director of the Association of Cambodian Recruitment Agencies, said he had received a letter from T&P on Monday informing ACRA that the company had moved.
“The firm sent the letter to us on Monday announcing that they moved the old centre in Phnom Penh to Kampong Chhnang province because the centre in the capital is small and narrow for the workers,” said An Bun Hak.
“Until today we have not received any official report from police or court officials about illegal activity by the firm, so we cannot say anything about the firm closing.”
Moeun Tola, head of the labour programme at the Community Legal Education Center, said he could not confirm that police were investigating the detention of workers or T&P faking documents for underage workers.
He said last week that two of the five women released from the company last week, both from Kampong Chhnang province, were underage.
“The underage girls we met from Kampong Chhnang, they all confirmed that they were interviewed by the police, especially about their age,” he said. “I am sure that the police also know that T&P faked documents.”
Opposition Sam Rainsy Party lawmaker Son Chhay this week urged government regulation of labour firms in a letter submitted to the National Assembly, which also called for Labour Minister Vong Sauth to explain the lack of oversight.
Sen Sok district deputy governor Chheng Monyra said that T&P’s lawyer confirmed that the workers had been moved to Kampong Chhnang.
“We are not worried about the investigating process of the court, even though they go somewhere they cannot escape from the court investigation.”
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY MARY KOZLOVSKI