Four of the young Vietnamese guest workers who have been victimized by the Malaysian firm Winbond.
November 20, 2008: This is Part One in a series of posts about Winbond. More details to come as they are translated.
Winbond is one of the premier labor brokerages in Malaysia in terms of the number of workers it imports each year. The Coalition to Abolish Modern-day Slavery in Asia (CAMSA) has worked closely to help four young Vietnamese women who were recruited by the Hanoi-based labor export firm SONA for jobs in Malaysia arranged with Winbond.
On November 8 of this year, CAMSA’s goodwill embassy for Vietnamese guest workers in Malaysia received a phone call from a young woman. In a panicked voice, she told CAMSA “We were locked in and beaten, but we managed to get away, luckily… please rescue us!”
These two women, who through Winbond had been working as domestics, had slipped over a wall when their boss was not paying attention. They had no idea where to go; all they cared about was escaping the scene of their mistreatment. To their good fortune, the pair ran into other Vietnamese workers, who advised them to call the CAMSA goodwill embassy.
The two made it to the CAMSA office by ten that night, and, still in a state of fear, told the staff about their plight. The two had signed a contract to work as domestics through SONA, but didn’t learn the details of the document until a half-hour before their plane was set to take off.
Once in Malaysia, a rep of Winbond met them and took them to the company, where their travel documents were taken. Even some of their personal belongings were confiscated, including medicine they’d brought from Vietnam, cell phones, and books. No receipts were issued for these items.
The group of new arrivals was separated and the women berated for asking questions. The women grew increasingly anxious when they heard whispers from some of the older employees of how other groups of Vietnamese women had been treated by Winbond.