The alleged victim was interviewed on Candle Light Radio on the 4th of April clearly indicating that she was desperate for help. She describes the assault and makes this appeal:
“On 30 March, the father of my employer came to the house when everyone has gone out for work. He raped me. I appeal to all Cambodian women who want to come to Malaysia to think carefully and not make the mistake I made. I thought I was coming for a good job but in Malaysia I am a victim of sexual abuse. I want the government to help me return home as soon as possible“.
Listen to the full broadcast here.
The mother of a 27 year-old woman who was recruited by the Champa employment agency and sent to Malaysia to work as a maid, retracted everything she told reporters at my office on Monday 4 April.
What really happened?
To my mind, one word says it all: pressure.
Facts that make me believe so:
The mother retracted her allegation of rape of her daughter: 1/ at a press conference organized by the recruitment agency; 2/ at the Ministry of Interior; 3/ with a thumb printed letter by her daughter , officiated by the Embassy of Cambodia, in Malaysia; 4/ the employer is paying US$ 2,000 for her return to Cambodia.
These are steps that any government with true will to protect its citizens sent abroad for employment would do in the case of such allegation:
1/the Cambodian government should do is to collaborate with the Malaysian police by getting the mother of the alleged victim to Malaysia to provide her daughter support;
2/ Cambodian officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Cambodian Embassy in Malaysia and the Malaysian police with NGOs can form a team to conduct a thorough investigation of the alleged rape;
3/ Her safe return to Cambodia should be arranged by the Cambodian authorities and not paid by the employer;
4/ If she needs to go back to Malaysia to appear in court, the Cambodian authorities should make all arrangements and ensure that proper translation and other support services are provided to her and to her family;
5/in Cambodia, the government should investigate the Champa employment agency. This is not the first time, Champa agency is suspected of wrong doings.
Once these steps are conducted, then the facts should be contained in an official report made available to the public. The investigation of Champa Manpower and its allied agency in Malaysia should be investigated.
As an elected member of parliament, I intend to ask for the report of investigation and the facts, even if I know no investigation has been conducted.
I have reached out to the Malaysian Embassy in Cambodia and to a network of Malaysian NGOs dealing with migrant workers in the region, to investigate the case. It can not end with the retraction of the victim.
I will continue to pursue this case and other cases as I believe that we are on the right track to crack down a million dollar business that uses our women, men and children as objects.
I call on all who believe in defending women’s rights and the prosecution of human traffickers and those who want to see safe working conditions for women to send their concerns to the Malaysian government to investigate the case and to provide protection to the alleged victim.
The silencing of women migrant workers is against the law, it is inhumane and it further supports a human trade that should be condemned. Such treatment of alleged victims of violence and exploitation by those in power to cover up the real truth is very common, even in countries ruled by law. State conspiracy to cover facts or to fail to conduct proper investigation of complaints from alleged victims of violence against women is a very serious matter. There exists UN mechanisms to file complaints related to violence against women and these mechanisms should be used to ensure proper measures by such states to protect women’s human rights and to provide justice to women.
Cambodia has signed the CEDAW Optional Protocol, an instrument that can be used by victims.