December 3, 2008: The Coalition to Abolish Modern-day Slavery in Asia (CAMSA), of which BPSOS is a founding member, has lately been dealing with a disturbing trend in labor-management disputes in Malaysia.
In late 2007, Malaysia and Vietnam negotiated an agreement on exports of domestic workers. In early 2008, the number of Vietnamese “ô-sin” (domestics) in Malaysia began to rise. Because of their isolation in private households, these workers run an even higher risk of becoming human trafficking victims than factory guest workers, who live and labor as a group.
When CAMSA, together with the local human rights organization Tenaganita, opened an office in Malaysia to assist expatriate workers, it was expected that we would receive more and more petitions for help from “ô sin.” That expectation has turned out to be true, and even now our staff and volunteers are handling requests for help domestics who have managed to make their plight heard from behind closed doors.
The Winbond case, addressed previously in this space, is only one of many “ô sin” cases. We will keep you updated on these struggles for justice as they unfold.