Lawmaker: Cambodian workers at risk
November 5th, 2011
11:34 PM ET

Lawmaker: Cambodian workers at risk

(CNN) - A Cambodian opposition parliament member says labor recruitment agencies in her country are still sending domestic workers to Malaysia - despite a recent ban on the practice - because many government officials either own or have close ties to the companies.

The country's ministries of labor and interior "are not taking any action," Mu Sochua told CNN, noting that "many officials and familial members of some ministers actually own these dubious agencies."

The ban was enacted in October shortly after a report by CNN's Dan Rivers examined a recruitment agency in the Cambodian capital that revealed stories of women trapped in debt-bondage in Malaysia.

The story "that aired on CNN has actually awakened the country up the whole country on this human trafficking issue again," said Sochua. "I have to say that his piece is just one little part of the whole problem, which is much worse."


soundoff (71 Responses)
  1. Thandyie

    I have been following the stories that CNN has been doing on slavery around the world and I command the network for such an incredible job. However I must say this issue involves more deep rooted history in the social classes around third world countries. For example the social classes that exist in countries like Sri Lanka, Pakistan, India which include the people they call the untouchables is what causes slavery to continue to this day, social unequal classes that still exist in the 21st century. The untouchables are considered nothing in their society and the majority of them very poor. If these issues are not addressed then the slavery symptom will not be combated easy. The deep rooted problems within societies have to be addressed

    November 6, 2011 at 1:48 am | Reply
    • desert voice (troubledgoodangel or Nathanael or Bohdan or Voiceinthedesert)

      I say, down with the rich who in any way oppress the poor. No mercy in my heart, for them!

      November 6, 2011 at 5:27 am | Reply
      • Kme

        What about the poor that enslave the poor?

        November 7, 2011 at 4:18 am |
  2. Light

    Malaysia has did it again!! This time the accomplices are Cambodian government

    November 6, 2011 at 2:06 am | Reply
    • stalin14

      Yes Malaysia has done it again. They have been doing it, and will forever be doing it as long as the corrupted National Coalition is in power.

      November 6, 2011 at 6:50 am | Reply
  3. desert voice (troubledgoodangel or Nathanael or Bohdan or Voiceinthedesert)

    I oppose all slavery in principle. This said, I do support sensible, character-molding discipline. The two need not be exclusive. In Malaysia, many poor young women find work. If it is for the betterment of their economic condition and of their families, I am strongly in favor. If it is slave work, I vehemently oppose it. And if it is a slavery enforced by corporal punishment, I call it a crime against humanity. Still, the government of Cambodia ought not to throw the baby with the water. What needs to be rooted out is slavery, not discipline which many of these young women may need!

    November 6, 2011 at 5:26 am | Reply
    • Ryo

      Seriously discipline. Do you think having Malaysian bosses screaming and punishing them for every single mistake they make is something these women need? Do you know that Malaysian employers have been arrested for torturing and even murdering their maids? These women need humane working conditions. Malaysians just need a heart.

      November 6, 2011 at 10:58 pm | Reply
    • Kme

      How do you define slavery?

      November 7, 2011 at 4:19 am | Reply
  4. Peuv

    Why Hun Sen has no power in banning human trafficking in Cambodia while he is able to round up hundreds of political activists in Phnom Penh in two hours? Human trafficking usually involves the poor and the impoverished and it is not his priority. His priority is to cling to power after he sees Moammar Ghadafi vanish. That is real for him. That makes him nervous. Nothing is there forever if there is injustice!

    November 6, 2011 at 6:44 am | Reply
  5. Raymond Cheah

    I live in Malaysia, have been using maids (I prefer to call them domestic helpers) since my third kid was born. Our first helper was a young lady from Cambodia, who has lost both her parents and was living with her married sister, until the brother in law practically chased her out. She had no skills, no employment and certainly no hope, until the maids agency gave her training and sent her to our family. We treated her very well, gave her all the necessities and always paid her salary on time. She was able to save almost USD2000 to take home with her after two years. She would later use the money to start a small tailoring shop in Cambodia, but lost all her money and came back to work again in Malaysia with another family. Last I heard of her, she is doing very well. I would say – NOT ALL stories turn out bad. Please don't paint us Malaysians with the same brush. Thank you.

    November 6, 2011 at 6:55 am | Reply
    • azlan

      Totally agreed what Raymond Cheah said.I treating my maid helper just like family and she even owned new house in her hometown now.It is not always bad only few isolated cases compare with other developing nation.STOP accusing other nation when your own nation does not do the right thing for your own people.

      November 6, 2011 at 11:20 pm | Reply
  6. gliese42

    According to a close friend who resides in Kuala Lumpur, the Cambodians are nothing compared to Indonesians who come legally and illegally. There are a few million there already and more are coming in

    November 6, 2011 at 8:29 am | Reply
    • Lovely

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    November 6, 2011 at 10:09 am | Reply
    • juliet

      In every nationalities,you can not say that they are all good or they are bad. Some of the employer they are treating their helper as a member of the family like me i am working as a domistic helper but my employer is treating me like a family member.However, some employer they are obedient they are bitting thier helper,burning the face w/ the iron,banging on the wall@etc.this one is good if you don't any helper pls. don't get to avoid hurting them.

      November 6, 2011 at 12:01 pm | Reply
  8. Swagga

    Malaysia is not free either as long as they have the National Coalition in power but slavery must be abolished at any cost and the giving of work permits for Cambodian people to travel to Malaysia to work as domestic helpers is not working. Shut it down and Shut the National Coalition down too..

    November 6, 2011 at 10:47 pm | Reply
  9. tomato

    There should be a ban from people/company caught abusing human rights, they should not be able to hire anymore.

    November 7, 2011 at 1:41 am | Reply
  10. Ex-employer

    This country bashing by CNN is totally uncalled for. I am a Malaysian Chinese professional in Malaysia now in my late fifties, we have been employing foreign(Filipinos, Indonesians & Cambodians) domestic helpers for more then 20 years. I can tell you that the oppressed are not the workers but the employers. They ate whatever food that we ate, they went for holidays with us. They had their off days. We dared not scold or offend them lest they mistreat your young children. I can tell you that that not anyone of them will ever be grateful for your generosities. We have even discovered things being stolen and my expensive persian carpet cut with a razor. We have since stopped using them when our children are grown up and are very happy with this arrangement.
    1 more point, they always come in owing their own agents in their country a large sum of money and the employers were made to pay for them on their behalf and then to deduct the salary for the 1st few months.
    Who is getting the raw deal? You say.

    November 7, 2011 at 1:46 am | Reply
  11. eisaemillio

    the news about "slavery" in MALASYIA are all unsubstantiated, does not take much to verify yeah .... what a stupid piece ! i'm not surprised as this is the kind of journalism that CNN thrive to produced. CNN Freedom Project ????? What a BS ! IDIOTS ....

    November 7, 2011 at 2:01 am | Reply
  12. Kme

    If you work 14 hours a day and you get paid 100 bucks and then the master takes 60 bucks back from you for himself, is this slavery?

    November 7, 2011 at 4:24 am | Reply
  13. Kme

    If you work for 14 hours a day and get paid no money but, you get a free home to use and all of your basic needs met, is this slavery?

    November 7, 2011 at 4:38 am | Reply
    • Concerned citizen

      When they work for you and you're not paying them, yes it's slavery. They come not only for food or bed, but to save.

      November 17, 2011 at 1:41 am | Reply
  14. Craig

    The real problem is the link between government officials and business. Ministers who own employment businesses, Senators who have interest in oil companys, Prime Ministers who own media companies, Presidents who are in the oil business. Congressmen who have huge Wall Street portfolios. These people can't possibly make policies that are in the interest of their citizens. They will always work for what is best for themselves.

    November 7, 2011 at 6:22 am | Reply
  15. savecambodia

    November 10, 2011 at 7:31 pm | Reply
  16. Unfair Society

    CNN should do a more thorough research on employment in Malaysia instead of concluding it based on just one company / worker. There are many companies/factories here that hire foreign workers, some treat their workers well, some dont treat them well. So, you cant make a conclusion in such a large scale by only one case. As in all parts of the world, there are good people, bad people. There are good employers and bad employers.

    November 11, 2011 at 9:23 am | Reply
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