A 19-year-old pregnant woman was among five Cambodians slated to return home on Saturday after being illegally trafficked to Malaysia last year to work as maids, the Foreign Affairs ministry announced Friday in a statement.
The other women — aged 22 to 40 — who were trafficked to Malaysia in September and October told authorities they could not endure the hard work and asked to return home, according to the statement released by Chum Sounry, a ministry spokesman.
The ministry also announced the repatriation of four other women from Malaysia and China this week.
An employer for the pregnant maid, who was trafficked to Malaysia in October, brought her to the Cambodian Embassy on February 6, asking to send her back to Cambodia because she could no longer work, the ministry statement said.
The five maids were to arrive at Phnom Penh International Airport early on Saturday morning.
Two other women aged 33 and 22 who traveled to Malaysia on their own to work as masseuses were flown home to Siem Reap province on Friday, the ministry said.
Prime Minister Hun Sen banned Cambodians from working as maids in Malaysia in 2011 amid mounting reports of unpaid wages, forced overtime and physical and sexual abuse. The two countries signed a memorandum of understanding in December 2015 to lift the ban, but implementation details have yet to be finalized.
Even so, many Cambodians have continued to go to Malaysia to work as maids, sometimes with the help of local recruitment agencies.
In another statement, the ministry said two Cambodian women who were trafficked to China to marry Chinese men in May and August were flown home on Thursday.