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Fishermen repatriated in growing numbers

Fishermen repatriated in growing numbers

Five Cambodian workers rescued from slave-like conditions on a fishing vessel at a port in Senegal were repatriated last Thursday.

Cambodia has rescued seven labourers from Senegal, four from South Africa and five from China this year, said Huy Pichsovann, program officer at NGO the Community Legal Education Center.

The five men, like many other Cambodians trafficked to Africa, were told by brokers that they were going to work in Japan in a factory for a lucrative salary, but ended up trapped as unpaid and overworked fishermen at sea.

“They were forced to work very hard every day and without payment,” Pichsovann said. “They were working as slaves on the sea.”

When the ship docked at Darka Port in Senegal, the five escaped from the ship and telephoned their families in Cambodia.

The families then filed complaints to CLEC in Phnom Penh, and the organisation managed to rescue them from the ordeal, Pichsovann added.

Two of the five men are from Kampong Chhnang and three from Kampot.

All workers were recruited by Giant Ocean International Limited, a Taiwan fishery company that CLEC said is also responsible for trafficking four other Cambodian men to South Africa.

To contact the reporter on this story: Buth Reaksmey Kongkea at [email protected]

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