Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - ‘Trafficked’ woman pleads for repatriation from Saudi Arabia

‘Trafficked’ woman pleads for repatriation from Saudi Arabia

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
In an online video, a Cambodian woman pled for government help to get her home. FACEBOOK

‘Trafficked’ woman pleads for repatriation from Saudi Arabia

Cambodian authorities are searching for Ly Rohimas, a 26-year-old Cambodian Muslim woman from Memot district in Tbong Khmum province, who has claimed to be a victim of human trafficking.

Authorities were alerted to her situation after she made a plea to Prime Minister Hun Sen to bring her home in a Facebook post on December 28.

She claimed to have been cheated by a broker in 2017 and sent to Saudi Arabia, according to a senior police officer in the Ministry of Interior’s Anti-Human Trafficking and Juvenile Protection Bureau.

Bureau director Chiv Phally told The Post on December 28 that officials are trying to contact the victim who has a Facebook account registered as Rohimah binti Mohamad Aly.

An official from the Cambodian embassy in Saudi Arabia is also currently searching for her, Phally said, as well as another group of officials who have been tasked with searching for relatives in her hometown.

“However, we don’t yet have any leads on her whereabouts. We are trying to get her back to Cambodia,” he said.

In a short video clip posted on her Facebook account, Rohimas described being trafficked and held captive.

“I am living in Saudi Arabia. I was cheated by [a] broker who ‘sold’ me to Saudi Arabia in 2017. There is no authority or organisation to intervene to get me out of this country.

“About my living condition . . . [the] house owner beats me almost every day, but I cannot get help from anyone. The house owner took away all of my personal documents. I have not received any salary or allowance. Moreover, I am prohibited from going out to meet anyone.

“I am an orphan who lived with my old grandmother and two younger siblings. I left my house [in Cambodia] to work [with the hope of] feeding my family from a young age. I didn’t expect that they would take me or sell [me] like this,” she said.

Othman Hassan, Senior Minister in charge of Special Missions who is also a Muslim leader in Cambodia, could not be reached for comment on December 29.

Centre for Alliance of Labour and Human Rights executive director Moeun Tola said that in some countries where Cambodian migrant workers are living, the rights and values of women are not respected.

He urged the government to prevent Cambodian citizens, particularly women, from going to work in these countries before bilateral agreements are established to protect them.

“I still cannot understand why, when we do not have a memorandum of understanding for Cambodians to work in certain countries, there are Cambodian migrant workers who are working illegally there.

“There is no clear policy, so these kinds of cases continue occurring. Why is there no clear action from the government [in response]?” he asked.

Tola urged the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and relevant authorities to follow-up on Rohimas’ case immediately. He said the government needs to rescue her from the abuse and bring her home.

Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training spokesman Heng Sour said on December 29 that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and the Cambodian embassy in Saudi Arabia were seeking information on where and how to intervene in order to return the victim to Cambodia.


  • Restrictions re-imposed in capital as Covid cases surge

    Amid the ongoing community outbreak of Covid-19, which has shown no sign of subsiding with 750 infections and 10 deaths reported on June 2 alone, the Phnom Penh Municipal Administration has decided to re-impose the suspension of all occupations and business activities deemed as posing high risk of

  • Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville expressway 51% complete

    The construction of the nearly $2 billion Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville Expressway is 51.35 per cent complete and is expected to be finished in 2023, according to Ministry of Public Works and Transport secretary of state Vasim Sorya. Invested in by Cambodian PPSHV Expressway Co Ltd, the first expressway in

  • With herd immunity likely in 2022, is Cambodia ready to reopen for tourism?

    The government aims to inoculate 80 per cent of the target population by June next year, giving it a head start among regional peers to reboot the sector but first, it has to do a few things to up its game A sign on a glass

  • First 7-Eleven store to open mid-June, ambassador says

    Thai retail conglomerate CP All Pcl will open Cambodia’s first 7-Eleven convenience store in mid-June, Cambodian ambassador to Thailand Ouk Sorphorn told The Post on June 1. The Bangkok-listed 7-Eleven franchise operator, the retail arm of Charoen Pokphand Group Co Ltd, granted CP All (Cambodia)

  • US wants 'full access' to Ream Naval Base

    On June 11, the US embassy's Defense Attaché Colonel Marcus M Ferrara visited Ream Nava Base in coordination with Cambodian officials following the recent approval of Prime minister Hun Sen to allay the concerns on Chinese military presence at the base as raised by US Deputy

  • US embassy guard gets Covid despite two doses of Pfizer jab

    The Covid-19 tracking commission on June 4 said a security guard at the US embassy in Phnom Penh had contracted the novel coronavirus, despite having received a second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech shot two weeks ago. Embassy spokesperson Chad Roedemeier confirmed the SARS-CoV-2 infection to The