Amnesty International said in a report released March 24 that migrant workers faced exploitation and widespread abuse in Malaysia, and accused the government of not doing enough to protect them. Malaysia, a country of 28 million, relies heavily on foreign labor, with an estimated two million foreigners working legally and another million illegal workers from countries like Indonesia, India, Bangladesh, Nepal and Myanmar. More than 200 migrant workers were interviewed last July for the Amnesty report, which found that some workers were being lured to Malaysia by agents, only to find that the jobs they had been promised did not exist. Others complained of physical, verbal and sexual abuse, saying their employers held their passports, forced them to work long hours and did not pay the wages they were promised. The researchers spoke to migrants working in restaurants, construction sites, factories and in homes. They also visited three detention centers around Kuala Lumpur, where they found extreme overcrowding and a lack of beds, access to clean water and medication. (New York Times)

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