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Investigation finds recruitment fees paid by migrant workers in Samsung's supply chain in Malaysia

Author: The Guardian, Published on: 8 November 2018

"Samsung should try imagining a world where big firms respect workers", 8 November 2018

Two years ago, I travelled to Malaysia to investigate the treatment of...foreign migrants working at Samsung. Samsung...announced improved guidelines for the recruitment and treatment of foreign migrant workers...In September, I returned to see if they had lived up to their promises.

At first, there were some positive signs...those recruited directly by Samsung since 2016 said they had not paid any recruitment fees. I wanted to see if the same applied for workers further down the supply chain...I went back to the factory and followed a group of men heading the end of their shift...They said they paid vast sums to come to Malaysia, some as high as £3,500...but were earning less than promised...“My employer has my passport, so if I want to go back home, I can’t,” [a worker] said...“They didn’t ask us how much we paid to come here…so there’s no question of us being repaid”... 

They worried that if they spoke to me they would be deported or punished. One worker, referring to his direct employer, told me: “If they know I gave you an interview, they will take me to some place and beat me up.” 

Samsung...responded with a statement: “We will conduct thorough investigation on this matter that you have shared with us. As a committed member of the global community, Samsung will continue our efforts to both respect and protect human rights of the migrant workers.”

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Related companies: Samsung