Photo by: Hong Menea
A female trainee looks out through the metal bars on a balcony at the T&P Co Ltd training centre in Phnom Penh’s Sen Sok district on Friday.
Monday, 14 March 2011 14:21 Mom Kunthear and Chhay Channyda
Labour recruitment firm T&P Co Ltd has been faking documents for under-age women to make them eligible for domestic work abroad, a local rights advocate said today.
Moeun Tola, head of the labour programme at the Community Legal Education Centre, said today that at least two of five women recently released from the firm’s training centre are under age.
Moeun Tola said that Yorn Srey Leab, 17, from Kampong Chhnang province, was listed by T&P Co Ltd as 21-year-old Yorn Srey Houch – her sister’s name – and Sok Phal, 17, from Kampong Chhnang was listed as 21-year-old Kong Phalla.
“Authorities shall take tough action and punish [T&P Co Ltd] or shut their office to prevent other companies from following them,” said Moeun Tola.
T&P Co Ltd, which trains women for domestic work abroad, has come under scrutiny after a 35-year-old trainee died last Sunday and current trainees say they are being held against their will.
The five women released were Sok Phal, Yorn Srey Leab, Sorm Sophary from Kampong Thom province, Sao Chatou from Pursat province and Srun Channang from Kampong Cham province, who was publicly released last Friday in front of local authorities, prosecutors and Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarians.
Yorn Srey Leab said that T&P Co Ltd was forcing her to pay US$550.
“My living condition in the centre is like staying in prison because I was not given the right to walk out,” she said.
Kek Galabru, president of rights group Licadho, said that there was no law that workers have to be detained in the firm after they registered.
“The government and the Labour Ministry have to clearly investigate this case because the government allowed the firms to recruit the workers,” she said.
Sam Rainsy Party lawmaker Son Chhay said that the company had no guidance from the ministry or local authorities.
“It seems normal for some recruitment firms that they have to detain the workers,” said Son Chhay, adding that at least 10 recruitment firms were detaining workers.
“Some local officials hide the cases of companies that detain workers.”
Cambodian People’s Party spokesman Cheam Yeap said that companies have to report activities and internal rules to police and relevant ministries.
“If they don’t report to them I think it is illegal because they recruit the workers for detaining.”
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY THET SAMBATH