“Cambodian Workers in Malaysia: Challenges and Constraints in Achieving Appropriate Working and Living Conditions”

Cambodia is one of the major “source” countries of low cost labor in Malaysia, particularly in domestic work and manufacturing industries. Migrant workers face heightened vulnerabilities and difficult working and living conditions in Malaysia, especially those who migrate through informal channels and do not have legal status. Lack of legal protections and labor laws have contributed to a high prevalence of exploitation, sexual harassment, debt bondage and trafficking of these workers in Malaysia.Cambodian migrant workers are considered among the most vulnerable in Malaysia due to discrimination, migration through informal channels, and lack of protections from the Cambodian government. Many Cambodian migrant workers are also unskilled or uneducated, which further limits their employment options and makes them more likely to be taken advantage of. The majority end up working in “3D” industries (“Dirty, Dangerous and Demeaning/Difficult”).Live-in domestic workers are perhaps the most at-risk of exploitation in Malaysia, due to extremely isolated/controlled working environments, cultural and ethnic discrimination, and lack of formal protections/monitoring. Employers often withhold passports or use the worker’s lack of legal status to manipulate and control them, leaving them trapped in situations where they can be easily abused.Here at Free To Shine, we work to educate rural communities in Cambodia about the risks of migrating to Thailand, Malaysia or other countries in the region in search of work. We conduct community classes titled “Safe Migration,” focused on alternatives to migration, how to migrate legally/formally, and how to identify ploys that traffickers and exploitative recruiters use.If you are able to, you can fund one of these community training sessions for $70 AUD here.

To learn more about Cambodians working in Malaysia, you can read the full report here:

Date: 2017

Source: Serey Sok & Massachusetts Institute of Technology 201