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New group of trafficked fishermen reach home

Yet another group of rescued Cambodian fishermen believed to have been trafficked and forced to work on Thai fishing vessels arrived in Phnom Penh yesterday afternoon, a spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.

“They arrived today [Tuesday] at 4:15pm,” ministry spokesman Chum Sounry said yesterday, adding that all 33 of them had been interviewed by the Cambodian Embassy in Indonesia.

Indonesian authorities, along with embassy officials in Jakarta and personnel with the International Organization for Migration, emancipated the 33 men from three different areas within Riau Islands province, a small yet sprawling archipelago in the area between Sumatra, Borneo and mainland Malaysia.

Similar to other recent rescues, the men were working on illegal Thai trawlers operating in Indonesian waters and using the country’s myriad islands as virtual prisons for their workers.

So far this year, more than 300 trafficked Cambodian fishermen have returned home from Indonesian territories.

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