Search

Search form

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Fishermen back in Kingdom

Fishermen back in Kingdom

Fishermen back in Kingdom

120224_05
Trafficked fishermen return to Cambodia yesterday after being made to work without pay on Thai fishing vessels.

Eight fishermen who escaped after more than a year of forced labour aboard a Thai fishing boat recounted tales of abuse and miserable working conditions upon their repatriation to the Kingdom yesterday.

The men said that brokers had promised them salaried jobs in Thai factories, but instead trafficked them onto Thai fishing boats for between 30,000 and 40,000 baht (between approximately US$1,000 and $1,300), where they were forced to work for free and with little rest and food.

Tim Phon, 33, who was told he would earn US$250 per month working in a Thai factory, said that the year he spent aboard the fishing vessel was “the worst in my life”.

“I thought I had died aboard that boat, but now I am back,” he told reporters, after arriving at the Phnom Penh International Airport yesterday.

Twenty-five-year-old Khon Nou, of Kandal province, said he was only allowed to sleep two hours each night and was not given enough food.

“If I did not work, they threatened to shoot me into the water,” he added.

The men also appealed to authorities to save “more than a hundred” of their compatriots who they said were still aboard the vessel.

“There are more … Cambodian men, victims of human trafficking, on that boat.

They need help,” 45-year-old Van Houn, of Siem Reap province, said.

“For me, I escaped, so I am saved. I could not endure the difficult work with no rest and no salary,” he said.

According to a statement issued by Cambodia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Wednesday, the eight men escaped and were rescued in Indonesia’s Maluku province by a coordinated effort among Indonesian authorities, the International Organisation of Migrants, and the Kingdom’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Approximately 12,000 Cambodians were repatriated from foreign countries  in 2011, according to the Ministry of Interior.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

  • Breaking: PM says prominent human rights NGO ‘must close’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has instructed the Interior Ministry to investigate the Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR) and potentially close it “because they follow foreigners”, appearing to link the rights group to the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party's purported “revolution”. The CNRP - the

  • Rainsy and Sokha ‘would already be dead’: PM

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Sunday appeared to suggest he would have assassinated opposition leaders Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha had he known they were promising to “organise a new government” in the aftermath of the disputed 2013 national elections. In a clip from his speech

  • Massive ceremony at Angkor Wat will show ‘Cambodia not in anarchy’: PM

    Government officials, thousands of monks and Prime Minister Hun Sen himself will hold a massive prayer ceremony at Angkor Wat in early December to highlight the Kingdom’s continuing “peace, independence and political stability”, a spectacle observers said was designed to disguise the deterioration of

  • PM tells workers CNRP is to blame for any sanctions

    In a speech to workers yesterday, Prime Minister Hun Sen pinned the blame for any damage inflicted on Cambodia’s garment industry by potential economic sanctions squarely on the opposition party. “You must remember clearly that if the purchase orders are reduced, it is all