Twenty Cambodian fishermen allegedly tricked into illegally working on Thai fishing boats were rescued last month and are awaiting return, the Foreign Affairs Ministry said yesterday.
According to a ministry statement, the fishermen, aged between 19 and 39, were saved after they ported at an Indonesian harbour.
The men escaped the boats and sought refuge from an Indonesian village chief. One of the men later contacted World Vision and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) for further assistance, according to IOM Cambodia project assistant Nuth Sam Ol.
The Cambodian Embassy and IOM are working to ensure that the fishermen are healthy before travelling back to Cambodia, Sam Ol said. “We are preparing documents to have their health checked. Some of them are sick and they did not have healthy food or enough food when they were on the fishing boats.”
In a separate case, two Cambodian women arrived back in Phnom Penh yesterday after allegedly being traficked to China for marriage and then abused by their Chinese husbands, according to the ministry statement.
Ud Davy, from Kampong Cham’s Chamkaleu district, and Ou Sokny, from Prey Veng province’s Sithor Kandal district, landed at Phnom Penh Airport at around 3:30pm.
The Cambodian Consul in Guangzhou cooperated with Chinese authorities to rescue the women, the statement says.
“The embassy intervened and provided the permission paper so they can leave for Cambodia. They did not have passports, which are likely being kept by their husbands’ families,” said Cambodia’s Consul General Hour Sophara.