Anti-Human Trafficking Unit Raids Recruitment Company

A cache of passports and other documents was discovered Wednesday at the Phnom Penh office of a recruitment agency that is accused of deserting dozens of prospective migrant workers on the Thai border and conning them out of hundreds of dollars each, an official said.

Chiv Phally, deputy director of the Interior Ministry’s anti-human trafficking department, said his officials broke into the now-shuttered offices of Chin Vanda Manpower in Sen Sok district and confiscated computers, documents, passports, family books and ID cards as part of its investigation into the firm.

Mr. Phally added that Seng Salen—a fixer for the company who the 63 workers say abandoned them at the Doung border checkpoint in Battambang province on Saturday—was questioned by anti-human trafficking officials Wednesday and would be sent to court today.

“We don’t know whether the prosecutor will release him or continue detaining him,” he said, adding that authorities were still attempting to locate the company’s owner, Chin Vanda.

The workers submitted petitions to the Ministry of Labor and Prime Minister Hun Sen’s cabinet yesterday calling for the company to fully refund them for their payments of between $250 and $400.

Saing Ty, 18, said he was demanding the return of $350 that he paid the company after responding to an advertisement on the radio.

“After I paid, they said it would take 45 days and then I could go [to Thailand], but I waited seven months…. The company kept telling me not to worry,” Mr. Ty said.

“I think that if the government helps, I might get my money back,” he added. “I won’t try to go to Thailand after this because I’ve been cheated once and I’m scared it will happen again.”

Kong Chamroeun, a secretary in the prime minister’s cabinet, confirmed receipt of the petition and said he would send it to “upper levels or relevant authorities as quickly as possible.”

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