Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Fishermen back in Kingdom

Fishermen back in Kingdom

Fishermen back in Kingdom

Trafficked fishermen return to Cambodia yesterday after being made to work without pay on Thai fishing vessels.

Eight fishermen who escaped after more than a year of forced labour aboard a Thai fishing boat recounted tales of abuse and miserable working conditions upon their repatriation to the Kingdom yesterday.

The men said that brokers had promised them salaried jobs in Thai factories, but instead trafficked them onto Thai fishing boats for between 30,000 and 40,000 baht (between approximately US$1,000 and $1,300), where they were forced to work for free and with little rest and food.

Tim Phon, 33, who was told he would earn US$250 per month working in a Thai factory, said that the year he spent aboard the fishing vessel was “the worst in my life”.

“I thought I had died aboard that boat, but now I am back,” he told reporters, after arriving at the Phnom Penh International Airport yesterday.

Twenty-five-year-old Khon Nou, of Kandal province, said he was only allowed to sleep two hours each night and was not given enough food.

“If I did not work, they threatened to shoot me into the water,” he added.

The men also appealed to authorities to save “more than a hundred” of their compatriots who they said were still aboard the vessel.

“There are more … Cambodian men, victims of human trafficking, on that boat.

They need help,” 45-year-old Van Houn, of Siem Reap province, said.

“For me, I escaped, so I am saved. I could not endure the difficult work with no rest and no salary,” he said.

According to a statement issued by Cambodia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Wednesday, the eight men escaped and were rescued in Indonesia’s Maluku province by a coordinated effort among Indonesian authorities, the International Organisation of Migrants, and the Kingdom’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Approximately 12,000 Cambodians were repatriated from foreign countries  in 2011, according to the Ministry of Interior.


  • Phnom Penh authorities ban march for Human Rights Day

    Phnom Penh authorities have banned a planned march as local NGOs and workers’ unions gear up to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on Monday, with a youth group leader saying they would march nonetheless. The UN

  • Phnom Penh’s Jet’s Container Night Market shuts down

    The famous Jet’s Container Night Market in central Phnom Penh has shut down due to the high cost of the land rental, company representatives claim. Jet’s Container Night Market is the largest such market in Phnom Penh. It operated for just over two

  • Hun Sen rejects ‘rift’ rumours spread by ‘stupid gangsters’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday denied a “rift” among top leaders of the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), and rejected claims that Senate president Say Chhum and Interior Minister Sar Kheng were set to be removed from their positions as rumours spread by “gangsters”.

  • EU ambassador to Cambodia: Rights a ‘work in progress’

    The EU ambassador to Cambodia has called human rights “a work in progress” and said the 28-nation bloc has “carefully” noted last week’s statement by the government on taking further steps to strengthen democracy and the political sphere in the Kingdom. The EU marked