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Cambodia: Blog Article Leads to Murder Investigation

Categories: East Asia, Cambodia, Malaysia, Human Rights

An investigation on the reported death of a Cambodian domestic worker in Malaysia has been initiated by the Cambodian Embassy in Malaysia in cooperation with the police, according to an article by the Phnom Penh Post [1].

The aunt of the domestic worker was informed by the labor recruitment firm APTSE & C Cambodia Resource Co Ltd that her 19-year-old niece died from pneumonia. However, the pre-departure medical test in Cambodia in September last year showed her health to be perfectly fine.

It's now alleged that she could have been murdered following an expose by a news aggregation website, Khmerization, which published and circulated an email from an anonymous person who reported that a maid in Malaysia is being abused by her employer.

The case was picked up by rights groups and politicians [2]who appealed for a proper investigation. The anonymous sender of the letter wrote to Khmerization [3]:

We came across a blog on your website (khmerization.blogspot.com) regarding “Malaysia Embassy saved Cambodian maid alerted by Khmerization's article”, posted on 23 March 2011. We would like to bring your attention to a recent death of a Cambodia maid which we suspected the actual cause of death is due to the constant physical and mental tortures by her employer.

According to the local neighbourhood, they do constantly witness the deceased being beaten up and abused and had many times sought help from other maids in the neighbourhood. A day before her death, she passed down a message saying that if she really pass away without any valid reason, please inform her uncle back in Cambodia.


MP Mu Sochua vows to investigate the death of the teenager domestic worker

It should be noted that Khmerization has once successfully convinced authorities to investigate and assist another Cambodian maid who was allegedly abused by her employer in Malaysia. Aside from publishing an article [3] about the abuse, Khmerization circulated an email encouraging its readers to submit a letter to embassy officials in Malaysia.


According to the 2011 report [5]prepared jointly by CARAM Asia, CARAM Cambodia and Tenaganita, titled “Reality Check: Rights and Legislation for Migrant Domestic Workers Across Asia,” the number of Cambodian migrant domestic workers in Malaysia are over 40,000 of which the women account for 51.7%. The report outlined some common violations experienced by domestic workers:

  • Working conditions differ from the contract signed between migrant domestic workers and their agents in Cambodia    including lower wages and debt bondage not known to worker prior to departure.
  • Detention  at recruitment agencies’ training center
  • Underage girls sent to work with falsified documentations
  • No payment of wages
  • Irregular payment (migrant domestic workers are only paid at the end of their contract)
  • Long working hours
  • On call 24 hours a day
  • Excessive duties and tasks
  • No days off
  • No privacy
  • Verbal abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Physical abuse
  • Confiscation of personal documents