The website of the Cambodian embassy indicated that Princess Arunrasmy (above), the youngest daughter of King-Father and wife of Funcinpec president, is the current Cambodian ambassador in Malaysia
07 April 2009
By Ung Chansophea
Cambodge Soir Hebdo
Translated from French by Tola Ek
Click here to read the article in French
Victims of human trafficking are pointing at the Cambodian embassy office in Malaysia which refused to come to their help.
Six Cambodian citizens, all from the same family, who were victims of revolting working conditions in Malaysia, have accused the Cambodian embassy office in Kuala Lumpur of not coming to their help. The accusation was made during a press conference organized by the Caram Cambodia NGO on Tuesday 07 April in Phnom Penh.
“We were enticed to go to work in Malaysia in November 2007 through a Cambodian middleman. He proposed to me a working position at 4 hours away from Kuala Lumpur, in a coffee factory. We were supposed to earn $167 per month each, i.e. 600 Malaysian ringgits,” 42-year-old Sarath from Kampong Cham province said.
“In reality, on our 600 ringgits salary, 50 were deducted for rent and 200 for the visa fee. Our employer confiscated our passport at our arrival, and they made us work 12 hours nonstop [each day], from 6:30PM to 7AM. On some months, we were only able to work 10 to 20 days, they did not pay us on holidays,” Sarath added.
“When we wanted our passports back, we found out that the factory owner never renewed our visa. We went to the Cambodian embassy in Kuala Lumpur. We met an official by the name of Vantha who refused to help us, claiming that he had no right to protect illegal workers,” Sarath said.
“Vantha advised us to return back to meet our boss to ask for a compensation, or else turn us to the immigration police. He refused to let us stay at the embassy for more than one day. We begged him, we cried, but nothing would budge him,” Sarath recalled.
Finally, the family turned to Cambodian citizens living in Kuala Lumpur who told them about the Caram NGO which is involved in the defense of expatriated workers. The NGO then took charge of their return to Cambodia.
“The claim made by the embassy has no legal basis,” Ya Navuth, the executive director of Caram Cambodia, indicated. “The embassy should intervene, regardless of the personal opinion provided by Mr. Vantha who did not want to get hassled by this issue. If the Cambodian embassy is indifferent to the fate of Cambodian citizens, then several of them could become victims.”
On Tuesday, the Cambodian embassy in Malaysia could not be reached by “Cambodge Soir Hebdo.”
In 2009, Caram came to the help of 19 Cambodians, 13 of whom were in Taiwan. In 2008, Caram was also involved with 15 other Cambodia.