Migrant Workers Get Refund After Lock-In Ordeal

Eight migrant workers who say they were duped out of $300 each by a Phnom Penh recruitment agency were refunded Wednesday after protesting outside the company’s office and later being locked inside.

The Money Center recruitment agency last month sent 14 Cambodian workers to Thailand at the cost of $300 each, promising them jobs at an electronics factory.

But when the migrant workers arrived across the border on August 27, no factory representatives were there to meet them.

On Wednesday, eight of the workers—the other six remained in Thailand to find work elsewhere—protested outside Money Center’s office in Dangkao district.

“We demanded our $300 back because the company lied, and cheated us,” said Phen Daly, 25.

When the group walked into the office to speak to agency employees in person, Ms. Daly said, two staffers left for lunch and locked her and three other protesters inside.

“It was forced confinement,” Ms. Daly said, adding that after being trapped for an hour, the group called the police.

Chak Sopheap, an employee at the agency, admitted that he had locked the workers inside the building, and that he had done so only because they refused to leave.

“I asked them to come out but they wouldn’t leave,” he said. “I locked the door to go for lunch.”

Police arrived at the scene and detained Mr. Sopheap, 22, as well as his colleague Chea Ratanak, 21, said Dangkao commune police chief Lut Khim.

Following six hours of negotiations between police and the two employees, the pair agreed to refund the workers, Mr. Khim said.

“They agreed to give the money back,” he said. “So we allowed the two staff members to go home.”

[email protected]

© 2014, All rights reserved.