A Cambodian maid who claimed in a viral Facebook video that she was stranded in Saudi Arabia after fleeing her abusive employer will be repatriated this week, the Cambodian ambassador to Kuwait said on Sunday.
In the video, posted under the Facebook account name “Maari Sanaa” on Wednesday, the woman said she had lost contact with her family years ago and appealed for users to track down her mother. She did not have a passport and had no idea how to get home, she said.
“Please all brothers and sisters help me, share it via Facebook,” she says in the video, which has been viewed more than 50,000 times. “When I was working in a foreign country, the [employer] cheated me. Didn’t give me money at all.”
One user claimed to have found her mother and pasted a telephone number in the comments. When reporters called the number, the woman who answered confirmed the relationship.
According to 55-year-old Los Nas, her daughter, Sos Rotus, is a 28-year-old Cham Muslim from Kompong Thom province. She was 16 when she migrated to Saudi Arabia to work as a maid, she said.
Before the video surfaced, Ms. Nas had thought her daughter was dead.
“We talked once and she was telling me that she was [being] abused, and I no longer received her calls ever since,” she said, adding that her daughter had not elaborated on the nature of the abuse.
Ms. Nas said she contacted the agency who had recruited her daughter as well as rights group Licadho, but neither could help her.
Tan Bunpa, Cambodia’s ambassador to Kuwait, the closest country to Saudi Arabia that has a Cambodian embassy, said on Sunday that he was collecting the necessary legal documents to issue Ms. Rotus a temporary travel pass.
Mr. Bunpa said Ms. Rotus had not contacted the embassy, and officials had been alerted of her plight through her Facebook video. The documents would reach Riyadh, Saudi Arabia’s capital, by Tuesday, he said, and she should be able to fly home within the week.
“Those Cambodian housemaids normally flee their employer without bringing their own legal documents, even passport, so it is hard for them to travel. And it is hard for us to help them,” he said.