News / Asia

Cambodian Women Look to Malaysia for Work

Champei came back from Malaysia traumatized from severe sexual and physical abuse
Champei came back from Malaysia traumatized from severe sexual and physical abuse

Multimedia

Brian Calvert

Cambodian women are increasingly finding work as domestic labor in Malaysia. But in their rush to employment, some are finding little protection from abuse at work. Like many developing countries, Cambodia is trying to find ways to protect its migrant workers.

A team of oxen pulls a cart into the rice fields in northern Cambodia, where a rural way of life means few opportunities for work.

Now, young women in Preah Vihear province say they are finding opportunity as maids in Malaysia. But some of them are finding more trouble than they bargained for.

Sao Orn and her husband, Ros Chheoun, spend weeks at a time out here in the fields, harvesting what little rice grows in the hard ground. When their daughter, Champei, came to them with the idea of working in Malaysia, they had misgivings. Sao Orn says she asked her daughter not to go, even though the family is poor. But Champei insisted.

Sao Orn's worst fears were realized, when Champei came back seven months later, traumatized from severe sexual and physical abuse. Her daughter was not the same as when she had left.

These days Champei stays at home, taking care of the family pig, unable to work. And unable to trust people. "Now, people no good. People very bad, can beat me. No good also," she said.

Like many developing countries, Cambodia needs jobs for its growing population. And Malaysia wants maids to serve a growing class of professionals.

The number of Cambodians sent to Malaysia nearly quadrupled in the past year, to around 20,000. The surge comes after Indonesia banned its workers from going because of abuses.

Lured by promises of good pay, women sign up with local recruiters. But there are few safeguards for them in place and little communication back home.

E Saro, the governor of Champei's home district, Rovieng, says the government does not yet have a protective system in place.

The national government is drafting a new law that will aim to protect young women from dishonest recruiters and establish a fund to help them if they get in trouble in Malaysia.

But that is little consolation for Champei's parents, who now must worry for their daughter on top of everything else.

Champei's father says he is still angry with the recruiters who promised his daughter wealth but abandoned her when she was in need.

If I see them again, he says, I'll cut their throats.

You May Like

At Khmer Rouge Court, Long-Awaited Verdict Approaches

First phase of trial, which is coming to an end, has focused on forced exodus of Phnom Penh in 1975 - and now many are hopeful justice will be served More

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities More

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

Downing of Malaysian airliner, allegations of cross-border shelling move information war in war-torn country to a new level More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid