Tag Archives: workers’ rights

My Beer-My Dignity

The women are still braving rain and police harassment.

Still going strong.

Mu Sochua, MP

https://sochua.wordpress.com
“I do not fear death; I fear political silence against injustices”
-Malalai Joya, MP Afghanistan

Donate to Mu Sochua’s Justice Fund

Malaysian police and MP Mu Sochu take actions over the death of a Cambodian maid

Malaysian police and MP Mu SochuA take actions over the death of a Cambodian maid


By Khmerization
On 23rd July, Khmerization has received a mayday email from a concerned Malaysian national alerting about the death (murder?) of a Cambodian maid in Malaysia. The email was published and sent to more than 400 people, including the Malaysian Embassy, the Royal Malaysian Police and the Cambodian Embassy in Malaysia. The English-language Phnom Penh Post has also reported about the girls’ death.

MP Mu Sochua (pictured), one of the receivers of Khmerization’s email, has responded positively by promising to pester the Malaysian authority until she get the answer. “In my capacity as MP, I have and will bring to the immediate attention of the Malaysian embassy in Cambodia the issue of Cambodian workers working in Malaysia, in particular the safety and security of women working as domestic workers”, she said.

She also thanked Khmerization for circulating the news about this case. “I wish to thank Khmerization for circulating the news. The case reported in the past, was successfully resolved, thanks to your input”, added her email.

In a follow up email, Mu Sochua had promised to do all she can to get an answer about the girl’s death. “I called the Malaysian Embassy yesterday. No reply but my letter will follow. I will surely get to speak to an official. A letter to the govt. is also on the way”, she said in an email to Khmerization.

She also informed Khmerization that local NGOs are taking up the case further. “Local NGO spoke to the aunt of the victim who claims she was 19 year-old. The family wants to retract their consent to have the body cremated in Malaysia” added her email.

Khmerization is happy to say that the Royal Malaysian Police has also promised to take further action on the case after it received an email alert from Khmerization. “Thank you for your email. Further action will be taken as soon as possible. Thank you”, said a public relation officer of the Royal Malaysian Police through an email to Khmerization.

Concern over maids death

The Phnom Penh Post

MONDAY, 25 JULY 2011 15:03

MOM KUNTHEAR AND DAVID BOYLE

Opposition parliamentarian Mu Sochua and rights groups are investigating the death of a teenage Cambodian domestic worker in Malaysia, amid allegations she was abused by her employer.

Concerns over the girls death were raised after the news-agg-regating website Khmerization received an email from a person identified as Yip Soon Yew, who alleged Khor Phaik, a 15-year-old maid brought to Malaysia by a company called TSE, had been found dead on July 17.

Seng Sithichey, the director of recruitment firm AP TSE & C Cambodia Resources Co, said yesterday one of its dom-estic workers had died on that date, but could not confirm her name.

Yip Soon Yew claimed people in the maids neighbourhood in Penang had seen her being beaten up and abused.

A day before her death, she allegedly passed on a note asking that if she died for no valid reason, her uncle in Cambodia be contacted, the writer added.

Seng Sithichey, however, disputed the workers age, saying she was 21. He said the comp-any had received a medical certificate showing she had died from pneumonia.

We co-operated with the police and health officials to check what happened to her, Seng Sithichey said.

I have to find justice for my worker if she died because of her employer, but she died because of disease.

The womans family had been notified, as had the Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Seng Sithichey said. The family had not filed a complaint, he said.

Mu Sochua, of the Sam Rainsy Party, said yesterday Khmerization had previously reported the abuse of a domestic worker in Malaysia that had turned out to be true.

She vowed to investigate Khor Phaiks case with Malaysian government officials and rights groups, saying: It is of grave concern to me.

Huy Pich Sovann, an officer at the Community Legal Education Center, said yesterday he was also investigating the case and mechanisms needed to be put in place to stop the systematic abuse of Cambodian dom-estic workers in Malaysia.

Aegile Fernandez, of the Malaysian rights group Tenaganita, said Ung Vantha, a Cambodian embassy official in Malaysia, had mentioned the case but not given details.

Ung Vantha and other offic-ials could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Opposition parliamentarian Mu Sochua and rights groups are investigating the death of a teenage Cambodian domestic worker in Malaysia, amid allegations she was abused by her employer.

Concerns over the girls death were raised after the news-agg-regating website Khmerization received an email from a person identified as Yip Soon Yew, who alleged Khor Phaik, a 15-year-old maid brought to Malaysia by a company called TSE, had been found dead on July 17.

Seng Sithichey, the director of recruitment firm AP TSE & C Cambodia Resources Co, said yesterday one of its dom-estic workers had died on that date, but could not confirm her name.

Yip Soon Yew claimed people in the maids neighbourhood in Penang had seen her being beaten up and abused.

A day before her death, she allegedly passed on a note asking that if she died for no valid reason, her uncle in Cambodia be contacted, the writer added.

Seng Sithichey, however, disputed the workers age, saying she was 21. He said the comp-any had received a medical certificate showing she had died from pneumonia.

We co-operated with the police and health officials to check what happened to her, Seng Sithichey said.

I have to find justice for my worker if she died because of her employer, but she died because of disease.

The womans family had been notified, as had the Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Seng Sithichey said. The family had not filed a complaint, he said.

Mu Sochua, of the Sam Rainsy Party, said yesterday Khmerization had previously reported the abuse of a domestic worker in Malaysia that had turned out to be true.

She vowed to investigate Khor Phaiks case with Malaysian government officials and rights groups, saying: It is of grave concern to me.

Huy Pich Sovann, an officer at the Community Legal Education Center, said yesterday he was also investigating the case and mechanisms needed to be put in place to stop the systematic abuse of Cambodian dom-estic workers in Malaysia.

Aegile Fernandez, of the Malaysian rights group Tenaganita, said Ung Vantha, a Cambodian embassy official in Malaysia, had mentioned the case but not given details.

Ung Vantha and other offic-ials could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Beer Women Demand Fair Pay from Angkor Beer – Stop Exploitation of Women

Women selling beer at beer gardens in Cambodia have long demanded protection from physical and sexual harassment. Their demand for pay raise is legitimate as US$50/month can not provide them a life with dignity. Their right to form their union is covered in the 1997 Labor Law as well as the Cambodian Constitution.

This is an appeal to all consumers to join our women in their demand and the end of exploitation. For the women to strike is a very courageous public demonstration of their rights.

Enjoy your drink.

http://www.phnompenhpost.com/index.php/2011072250581/National-news/beer-girl-exploitation-revealed.html

Domestic Workers – Risks – ILO Convention – Cambodians in Malaysia

http://www.womensenews.org/story/labor/110716/recruiters-round-cambodians-work-in-malaysia

Cambodia Domestic Workers in Malaysia Can Find Abuses & Risks

By Amy Lieberman – WeNews Correspondent – July 18, 2011

Cambodian women who go abroad to Malaysia to work as domestic workers find the work fraught with abuse. Much of the mistreatment starts right away, in recruitment pre-departure training centers in Phnom Penh.

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (WOMENSENEWS)–Cambodian recruitment agencies for domestic migrant workers backtracked on a decision announced in May and said at the end of June they would no longer send domestic workers to Kuwait, following complaints of lack of legal and human rights protection for migrant workers.

But that policy doesn’t extend east to Malaysia, which drew more than 16,000 Cambodian domestic workers almost all of them female in 2010.
Many workers come home complaining about pay that is withheld for at least four to seven months; work shifts that are unspecified and long; food shortages; and physical and verbal abuse, according to local human rights and labor rights organizations in Phnom Penh, the country’s capital.
Cambodian workers first experience a taste of life in Malaysia in the Phnom Penh pre-departure recruitment training centers, where they wait for an average three months for their visas to clear.
“Once you are inside the center, you cannot leave, even if you are sick,” said Moeun Tola, chief of the labor program unit at the Community Legal Education Center, based in Phnom Penh. “If you want to leave, you have to pay the agency a lot of money; $600 to $1,500 to cover costs for your training, food and housing. No one staying there has this kind of money.”
Recruited women are often divorced or widowed, placing them in low social and economic standing in their communities that leaves them particularly vulnerable to abuse.
Deaths and Escape Attempts
Two women have died in training centers since 2010, while more than 10 women have escaped. In early 2011, a woman broke both her legs after she jumped from a center’s third-story window. These high-profile cases were reported in both national and international media.
Prak Srey Mom, 29, said in an interview with Women’s eNews that she escaped from a Top Manpower Co., Ltd, center on May 19, 2011, two weeks before her scheduled departure for Malaysia. She had spent the past two months in one room she shared with 20 other trainees. She was hungry most of the time, she said, but remained lured by the promise of earning up to $250 monthly in Malaysia during the typical two-year work period. Then she spoke with a returned worker who visited the center.
“The girl who came back from Malaysia said that she still had no money, that she was treated badly and I should be careful,” said Prak, who goes by her last name followed by her first name like most Cambodians, through a Khmer translator.
Days after the conversation, Prak snuck past the center’s guards and climbed down from the building’s roof. She successfully fled, but remains concerned for her sister, who was in the same center and was denied permission to go home and care for her sick children.
Representatives for Top Manpower and the Association of Cambodia Recruitment Agency, both based in Phnom Penh, did not respond to requests for comment on their treatment of recruited workers.
The Cambodian Ministry of Labor has closed down a few pre-departure training centers, but not any companies themselves, said Ya Navuth, executive director of Coordination of Action Research on AIDS and Mobility, or CARAM, a nongovernmental organization that does outreach work with prospective migrant workers.
Expanding Opportunities
Opportunities for Cambodian domestic workers in Malaysia have expanded rapidly since 2008, when Indonesia stopped sending migrant workers there because of human rights abuse allegations. Only 2,654 Cambodian domestic workers went to Malaysia that year, according to the U.S. State Department.
There are now more than 40 recruitment agencies in Cambodia, which all follow a basic formula.
“They target the poorest among the poor,” said Moeun of the Community Legal Education Center. “They say you can earn $180 a month, and if you pass a basic test your family automatically gets $50 and a 50 kg [bag] of rice. So, for a very poor family living in a small village, when they hear all of this, it is no problem for their daughter to have to spend a few months in the center.”
CARAM conducts regular public forums on migration in targeted villages and in training centers. The frank sessions rarely persuade prospective workers to consider another option.
“We tell them that it will be very difficult, but they still choose to go,” said Ya. “If they stay here, they can’t find a job.”
So Tay, 53, has worked in Malaysia in three capacities since 1999, and has spent time in recruitment centers both in Cambodia and holding centers for workers in Malaysia.
Three Trips
On her first trip, So became sick and was sent back to Cambodia after four months without any pay. On her second trip, in 2001, she was forced to work more than 18 hours a day and was physically abused.
During her last work trip in 2005, she tried to quit and was placed in a detention center run by a Malaysian-counterpart agency. She remained there for three months, before being flown back to Cambodia without any money.
So now lives in Phnom Penh and suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and chronic intestinal problems that prevent her from holding a steady job.
Bruno Maltoni, project coordinator for the International Organization for Migration’s office in Phnom Penh, which does not work directly with domestic migrant workers, says he does not think all migrant domestic workers have negative experiences.
“There’s a lot of hammering in the media about this and a lot of emotions, which is quite right, but I don’t think it is as widespread and as common as it is made out to be,” he said.
He said that by 2020 he expects to see at least a 4-percent increase in the migrant work force in Cambodia. Thailand is another major destination for migrant domestic Cambodian workers.

A day in the life of Mu Sochua

Video created by Philip Skoczkowski. Check out his amazing work at www.skoczkowski.com

A Day In The Life Of Mu Sochua from Philip Skoczkowski on Vimeo.

Worker march blocked- Phnom Penh Post

Police in Sen Sok district blocked a march planned for yesterday by workers from the June Textile garment factory, who have been demanding severance payments since the facility burned down in March.

Roughly 100 workers and activists gathered outside June Textile yesterday, planning to march to the capital’s Freedom Park and to government buildings.

Read the full article at the Phnom Penh Post website.

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The company is reported to have received US$19 million.

The workers will fight and go as far as call for boycott of clothes produced by the company, sold in USA and Europe.

The plight of the workers is adding strength and power to the villagers’ determination to keep their land.

Power to the people!

Help them by sending letters of support.

Mu Sochua