Three brokers were arrested and sent to Koh Kong court yesterday, charged with trafficking 17 Cambodians to Thailand with the intention of sending them on to another country, officials and victims said.
According to Soa Samnang, 46, he and 16 other villagers, the majority from Andong Teuk commune in Koh Kong’s Botum Sakor district, were lured across the border illegally on the promise of 7,000 Thai baht per month working on an oil ship.
When they boarded the Thai boat, however, the owner told them they were going to be sent to another country.
“When we found out the boat would bring us to another country, we realised we had been cheated by the brokers and decided to jump out to alert Thai police,” Samnang said.
Another villager, Ven Kin, 34, said that after meeting with Thai police, the 17 were sent back home and filed complaints with Cambodian police and rights group Adhoc seeking the brokers’ arrests.
“We panicked. We are afraid of working without salaries and labour trafficking,” Kin said.
“Now, we’re pleased that the brokers have been arrested.”
Yan Yum, deputy director of the anti-human trafficking and juvenile protection department at the Ministry of Interior, identified the suspects as Ly Moy, 43, Chan Vanak, 53, and Keo Sovan, 56, Vanak’s husband.
“Police arrested three brokers and will keep investigating more suspects who trafficked victims to Thailand,” Yum said.
Neang Boratino, Adhoc coordinator in Koh Kong, said the rights group will provide a lawyer to the victims.
“[A conviction] could be an example to other [traffickers] in Koh Kong,” Boratino said.