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Rescued men due to return

Another eight fishermen will be repatriated today after being saved from forced labour on fishing boats in Indonesia, according to a press release issued yesterday by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The statement said the men had been saved in Indonesia’s Maluku province by a co-ordinated action of the Foreign Affairs Ministry, the International Organisation for Migration and Indonesian authorities.

Seven Cambodians who were repatriated from Indonesia on February 7 reported being overworked and abused, and having received no salary for more than two years.

More than 100 Cambodian men have been repatriated from abroad since December after being trafficked onto Thai fishing boats, and either escaping or being saved in the various locations the boats ply.

Chhiv Phally, deputy director of the Ministry of Interior’s anti-human trafficking and juvenile protection department, said police would focus on investigating and catching brokers who cheated people into forced labour abroad.

“The authorities have appealed to Cambodians to not risk migrant work abroad. It is not the first time that Cambodians have been trafficked to be boatmen,” he said.

Am Sam Ath, senior investigator for rights group Licadho, said many trafficking victims still languished abroad.

“It is still a big concern that many Cambodians are mistreated abroad,” he said.

Meanwhile, Chea Mon, the mother of Soy Sros, whose whereabouts have been unknown since he left 11 years ago to work on Thai fishing boats, said she would attend the fishermen’s homecoming.

“I hope one among them is my son,” she said.

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