Families of Trafficked Women Seek NGO’s Help

Relatives of five women from Battambang province who say they were trafficked to Malaysia and remain there have contacted Cam­bodian NGOs for help, NGO workers said Monday.

Representatives of the Cam­bod­ian Women’s Crisis Center and local rights group Adhoc said they spoke last week with an uncle of two of the two women and the sister of one of them, who claim the women were forced to work at a brothel in Malaysia.

Nop Sarin Sreiroth, CWCC’s Banteay Meanchey provincial coordinator, said she has received re­ports that two sisters amongst the group are reportedly with a Ma­laysian NGO, while the whereabouts of the others are uncertain.

The two sisters left Cambodia on June 25 with three other wo­men after a Cambodian woman identified as Ran promised them high-paying jobs, she said.

Megat Hisham, first secretary at the Malaysian Embassy in Phnom Penh, said he was un­aware of the case.

He said allegations of trafficking to Malaysia were usually “un­founded rumors” and that the hu­man trafficking problem in Malay­sia was nothing compared to the situation in Thailand and Vietnam.

He said the Cambodian women likely entered Malaysia illegally.

If they had used one of 11 government-authorized employment firms, they would have received le­gal protections and frequent monitoring in the country, he said.

“Most of these cases, they allow themselves to be illegally smuggled into Malaysia for employment,” he said. “There is no legal pro­tection for them because they enter the country illegally.”

The Malaysian and Cambodian governments are cooperating on the issue, he added. “There is no problem whatsoever with the repatriation of the Cam­bod­ian workers. We even ab­sorb that cost, on hu­manitarian grounds.”

The CWCC has already helped repatriate 37 Cambodian women from Malaysia this year, Execu­tive Director Oung Chanthol said.

She said she knew of about 150 trafficked Cambodian women working in Malaysia or awaiting return in detention centers.



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