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

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches 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.
Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debatei
X
Shelley Schlender
July 24, 2014 6:43 PM
In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Death Toll From Israel-Gaza Conflict Surpasses 700

Gaza officials say a shelling hit a compound housing a United Nations-run school in the Gaza Strip, killing more than a dozen people, during an Israeli offensive in the area. Heavy fighting between the Israeli military and Hamas militants continued on Thursday, pushing up the death toll. So far, more than 730 Palestinians and 35 Israelis have been killed in the conflict. VOA's Scott Bobb has the latest from Jerusalem.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Researchers Target Low-Cost Avatar Technology

Scientists at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies say 3-dimensional representations could revolutionize social media. Elizabeth Lee has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid