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Maid rescued from Saudi Arabia

Sen David / Khmer Times Share:
Ken Chantha recounts her ordeal to the media. Facebook

Another Cambodian Muslim maid has been rescued from Saudi Arabia after working there for four years without getting paid.

Ken Chantha from Siem Reap province’s Siem Reap City arrived at her home yesterday. She was the fourth to be repatriated in less than a year.

Datuk Othsaman Hassan, a secretary of state at the Ministry of Labour, said Ms Chantha was cheated by a broker who sent her to work as a maid in Saudi Arabia in 2014, after which her employer changed and she did not get her wages.

He said that he was able to intervene in her case because it emerged on Facebook, similar to an earlier case of another maid whom he helped return to her homeland.

“She worked there illegally via a broker,” he said. “If she had gone there to work legally and met any labour exploitation she could have got some compensation. Anyway, it is very good that she can come back home safe and sound.”

He added the government was working to take action against anyone who acted as an illegal broker to get Cambodian women to work as maids in Saudi Arabia.

“The brokers use tricks to persuade workers to work there for the brokers’ benefit and when the worker works there, they face labour exploitation without getting paid,” he said.

He noted that Cambodia does not have an embassy in Saudi Arabia, making it difficult to provide help .

“It was very difficult and we needed a long time to prepare her repatriation,” he said. “We had to work with the Cambodian embassy in Kuwait to bring her back home.”

At Phnom Penh International Airport yesterday, Ms Chantha said that she was happy to return safely.

“Now I can meet my children in my home town after I worked in Saudi Arabia for four years without getting any wage” she said. “I was cheated by a broker who told me that by working as a maid there, I would get a high wage.”

Speaking in Kampong Chhnang province last week, Prime Minister Hun Sen said the government was seeking a deal for migrant workers to work in Kuwait, adding that a memorandum of understanding to protect workers in the Middle East was needed.

“There were cases of maids who have suffered for many years in Saudi Arabia, so we must work together to protect them by preparing MoUs to protect workers who work in the Middle East,” he said.

Ms Chantha is the fourth Cambodian-Muslim maid to be rescued from Saudi Arabia after being cheated by brokers who promised high wages. All of them worked there for many years without getting paid.

The others resuced were Math Sanas from Kampong Thom province, Eng Pov from Tbong Khum province and Man Kiros from Tbong Khum province. They were rescued in August last year and in January and March of this year.

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