A 16-year-old Cambodian girl who was allegedly beaten by a Cambodian woman who kept her as a live-in maid in Malaysia left a hospital there on Thursday after surgery on her ear, an official said.
The girl, Sothea*, which is not her real name, had fled from the home of a Cambodian woman named Tijau in Selangor province, west of Kuala Lumpur, after the girl was no longer able to withstand the woman’s constant beatings, Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesperson Koy Kuong told VOD on Friday.
The Cambodian Embassy in Malaysia said Thursday that Sothea was assaulted on December 7, and then ran away from the home of her employer, who is being sought by police. The girl’s story came to light after a video of her describing the abuse and showing her injuries was circulated on Facebook last week.
After fleeing her alleged abuser, Sothea met with Cambodians living in the area who helped her inform the embassy of her plight, Kuong said in a message to VOD.
Sothea, who is from Mondukiri’s Keo Seima district, entered Malaysia illegally on November 5, 2018, a move facilitated by an unidentified broker, Kuong said.
A man who raised the girl and lives in Cambodia told the embassy in Malaysia that he had agreed to allow Sothea to live with Tijau and her two children, since the woman had promised to help raise the girl and allow her to go to school. Sothea was to help look after the woman’s children, according to the spokesperson.
“The victim told the embassy that the suspect did not let her go to school, leaving her to do housework and take care of her two children, and was beaten almost every day,” Kuong said.
In a less than five-minute video posted to Facebook this month, the top of the girl’s left ear is seen nearly severed and hanging, and her face and lips appear bruised and swollen. She has further injuries on her leg and arm.
Kuong said Sothea was brought to a hospital on December 8 with a sliced ear, bruises and injuries on her mouth and head. Embassy staff visited her the following day.
On Thursday, she underwent surgery on her ear and was discharged from the hospital the same evening.
“Police in Kapar [a town in Klang district] have processed the case, considering it as a physical assault case,” Kuong said, adding that police were continuing to investigate in order to arrest the suspect.
Heng Uong, chief of the Keo Seima district police in Mondulkiri, said so far he had received no information or heard anything about the girl.
“I have not seen that news and heard nothing from superiors,” Uong told VOD.
Cambodian domestic workers have faced serious abuses from employers in Malaysia, resulting in the Cambodian government banning the legal migration of maids to the country in 2011. But Cambodia resumed sending maids to Malaysia in 2018, with labor rights advocates at the time raising concerns for their safety.