Fathers Claim Maid Agency Keeps Daughters Out of Touch in Malaysia

Three fathers lodged a complaint with local rights group Adhoc yesterday claiming a maid agency will not allow them talk to their daughters, who have worked at households in Malaysia since 2009, the fathers and a rights worker said.

The parents, who hail from Banteay Meanchey province, are asking Philimore Cambodia to return the three women, who are in their late teens, before the end of their two-year contracts.

“I contacted this company several times to get access to communicate with my kid,” said father Kien Kil. “But the employees and senior leaders at the firm always gave several excuses to cheat me by telling me to wait two months…. And during my last call they told me to wait two years.”

Mr Kiel said his daughter may also have been abused, as reported to him by an ex-maid who returned from Malaysia last week.

The former maid declined to be named but confirmed she had made such a report.

“I accidentally met her at the agency and she was in shock and always cried,” the 28-year-old woman said, explaining that the girl, Kuch Sreythea, had burns on her arms because her employer forced them into a pot of scalding water.

Philimore Cambodia Director Lao Lyhock said he knew of no abuse and had not seen any complaints.

“We never say, ‘I don’t contact for you,'” said Mr Lyhock yesterday. “I request the fathers to come to the office to see me directly.”

But Mr Lyhock said the firm needs to “control” communication between families and maids. Sometimes, he said for example, relatives want money but the maid does not want to send it.

“We see [for each] case what purpose the family wants and also what the maid wants,” he explained.

The other two fathers said they were merely worried and had not heard their daughters were abused.

“I don’t want my kid to risk her life and I don’t need the cash,” said father Kong Rith. “I prefer to see her in safety.”

(Additional reporting by Clancy McGilligan)


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