February 3, 2009: Even in the days leading up to Tet, the Vietnamese Lunar New Year, the Malaysia office of the Coalition to Abolish Modern-Day Slavery in Asia (CAMSA) continued to receive pleas for help from Vietnamese domestics.
“After six months of working hard from dawn to dusk, I still haven’t received any pay at all,” wrote one such guest worker in a letter to CAMSA.
Among the cases CAMSA is dealing with, the abuse of Vietnamese domestics extends even to rape by the employer. In such cases, one of the major labor import firms that contracts out the domestics, Winbond, has shown no interest in intervening to protect the worker.
“We’re continuing to apply pressure on Winbond in Malaysia to get them to free these workers, who are virtual slaves,” Dr. Nguyen Dinh Thang, the executive director of Boat People SOS, said after a recent visit to Malaysia.
The workers who do manage to escape from Winbond and return home find, however, that the labor export firm SONA with which they signed is demanding they pay 30 million dong (US$1,720) for leaving their jobs before their contract’s expiration.
CAMSA and BPSOS, one of the coalition’s founding members, are continuing to monitor the treatment of Winbond workers and intervene on their behalf when possible. Please check here often for updates and action alerts where you can help.
For background on the Winbond case, please click here.