A woman in Kratie province has been charged with human trafficking for allegedly using improper documentation to arrange work for at least 23 Cambodians, including two minors, at a plywood factory in Malaysia.
Sam Sin, 46, was charged on Tuesday with unlawful removal and unlawful removal of a minor and detained while awaiting trial, Kratie provincial court deputy prosecutor Hak Horn said on Wednesday.
“Sam Sin took the money from another person [in Malaysia] and she prepared the passports for them to leave from Poipet City,” he said.
Deputy provincial police chief Nov Ratana said Ms. Sin sent the 23 to Malaysia in groups on tourist visas, but they eventually left the factory claiming difficult working conditions.
“Their salaries were cut to cover the price of their passports and food, so they did not have any money left. The work was hard and sometimes they were verbally abused, so they decided to escape.”
Ms. Ratana said the 23 asked police in Malaysia for help and were all repatriated in September, with the help of the Cambodian Embassy in Kuala Lumpur and anti-trafficking NGO Chab Dai.
Malaysia has become a common destination for Cambodia’s migrant workers looking for higher wages, even after Cambodia placed a ban on sending domestic workers to the country in 2011 following a raft of employer abuse allegations.
The government is in the process of finalizing a deal with Malaysia to let workers return legally.