Malaysia frees over 100 foreign maids forced to work without pay

Featured South East Asia - December 4th, 2012
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Malaysian authorities said Monday they will deport over 100 women deceived by a housemaid employment agency and forced to work without pay.

Authorities detained 12 agency supervisors after raiding a building near the capital Kuala Lumpur where 105 women – including 95 Indonesians, 6 Filipinos and 4 Cambodians – were held against their will.

The women were promised monthly wages as domestic helpers in Malaysia but received nothing in the six months they worked cleaning homes in the day and locked in a four-story building at night, an immigration department official told AP. The women entered Malaysia on social visit passes that do not confer the right to work legally in the country, leaving them vulnerable to abuse, AFP quoted officials as saying.

Indonesia, Malaysia’s main source for domestic labor, has lifted a three-year-old ban on sending maids to the country after both countries agreed to better protect the workers. But recurring reports of abuse against domestic workers in Malaysia has sparked outrage from neighboring countries.