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Still more fishermen rescued in Indonesia

The number of Cambodians recently found in Indonesia after being trafficked onto Thai fishing vessels has risen to 230, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a press statement released yesterday.

The ministry confirmed that, following an investigation by Indonesian authorities along with Cambodian Embassy personnel, an additional 31 fishermen were rescued from Ambon Island over the last week, adding to the 199 discovered last Friday. The men were reportedly trafficked to work on the Thai vessels for years before Indonesian authorities managed to rescue them.

Ministry spokesman Koy Kuong said Cambodian officials visited the island from May 30 to June 3 to check on the men’s conditions, adding that the owner of the Thai fishing boats have paid the workers their salary and have agreed to pay for a charter flight from Ambon to Phnom Penh.

“They have agreed in principle, and now they are processing the procedure to ensure that these people to return sometime this month,” he said.

International Organisation for Migration project manager Paul Dillon said IOM staff had “joined a small mission from the Ministry of Fisheries and Oceans [Thursday] at the Indonesian government’s request on a fact-finding mission . . . to identify possible cases of human trafficking”.

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