Endorsement of HRW Report

On November 1st, Human Rights Watch released a report entitled “They Deceived Us at Every Step: Abuses against Cambodian Domestic Workers Migrating to Malaysia.” This report presents detailed documentation of the significant abuses and exploitation of Cambodian domestic workers during recruitment, work abroad, and upon their return home.

We, members of the Asian Inter-Parliamentary Assembly on Labour Migration, welcome this report as a comprehensive analysis of this pressing issue. Between 40,000 and 50,000 Cambodian women and girls have migrated to Malaysia as domestic workers since 2008. The increase in the recruitment of Cambodian domestic workers was instigated by changes to the emigration policy of Indonesia, which imposed a 2-year ban on sending its own workers to Malaysia in 2009 after several high-profile cases of abuse and exploitation.

The report documents cases in which Cambodian recruitment agents forged identity documents to recruit children, offered cash and food incentives to prospective migrants and their families, deceived them about the jobs available, and have charged exorbitant recruitment fees leaving them heavily indebted and vulnerable. In Malaysia, migrant domestic workers face rampant workplace abuses. They are excluded from key protections in Malaysia’s Employment Act, including a weekly day of rest, annual leave, and limits to working hours. The most common complaint among these workers is the withholding of wages and unjustified deductions to their salaries. Many are confined to the workplace and deprived of adequate food, and there are many instances of physical and sexual abuse. Some cases reported amount to forced labour and trafficking.

Download the full HRW Report: “They Deceived Us at Every Step: Abuses against Cambodian domestic workers migrating to Malaysia”