Electronics companies in forced labour claims
Electronic companies operating out of Malaysia have been blasted by campaigners over claims of modern day slavery.
A report from US-based fair-labour organisation Verite revealed the plight of workers who were working 12 hours a day after having passports confiscated by employers who were demanding recruitment fees and threatening fines for leaving.
Labour activists say such abuses are rife in Malaysia's electronics manufacturing sector, producing components for major brands like Apple, Hewlett-Packard, Sony and Samsung.
They say that at least one-third of Malaysia's 350,000 electronics workers face indentured servitude.
Up to 60 percent of Malaysia's electronics workers are estimated to be vulnerable foreigners from impoverished countries, and Verite who carried out the research for the US Department of Labor said 94 percent of foreign labourers it surveyed had their passports seized.
One worker interviewed took home about $320 monthly - a figure which is one-third less than the amount he says he was promised - following a range of vague deductions and other costs not previously disclosed.
The report stated that he felt pressured to work overtime almost daily, even when sick and claimed "supervisors direct ailing workers to a specific clinic that refuses to authorise medical leave".
He claims he was also promised free board which had not materialised, and that some workers lived in a single factory-arranged room with up to 15 others, and one toilet.
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