December 9, 2008: This is Part Three in a series on the struggle of Vietnamese guest workers employed in Malaysia through the firm Winbond. (Click here for Part One.)
The Coalition to Abolish Modern-day Slavery in Asia (CAMSA) has scored a victory in the ongoing struggle for several of the Vietnamese workers lured to Malaysia by the firms Winbond and SONA. This success is heartening, but leaves open the question: To what new lows will the two companies stoop in order to avoid taking responsibility for the abuse and cheating of Vietnamese guest workers?
Here’s what happened: On the night of December 8, the Vietnamese labor export firm SONA, along with the Malaysian firm Winbond, sent agents to the hostel of four Vietnamese guest workers – two of them already mentioned in this blog – in an attempt to deport them.
The agents came into the workers’ room and demanded that everyone get ready to go back to Vietnam. The workers were given 10 minutes to prepare.
The agents had tricked the local volunteer police to come and help them deport these workers. CAMSA staff members were later told that the agents were extremely rude, and even posted guards who barred the workers from using the bathroom. Fearful, the workers hid in their room until CAMSA staff arrived to intervene – thanks, luckily, to the fact that neighbors were able to call the CAMSA office.
One of the agents posed as a Vietnamese embassy official, but failed to produce any documents confirming his claims. After questioning the agent, it became obvious that he was not an embassy official. As the night progressed, it became more and more clear that Winbond was trying to deport these workers to avoid dealing with CAMSA’s intervention for justice.
At the end of the night, the agents left without the workers, who are currently safe at their hostel.