Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Trafficked Cambodian fisherman recounts life at sea

Trafficked Cambodian fisherman recounts life at sea

Trafficked Cambodian fisherman recounts life at sea

120430_05

Soung Sokden looks older than his 26 years, his skin black and weather-beaten from six years of forced labour onboard a Thai fishing boat – the latest trafficking tale recounted by returned fishermen on Friday.

{jathumbnail}

Eyes downcast, Soung Sokden, from Kampong Cham’s Chamkar Leu district, said a broker had first led him overseas to a boat that trawled the waters off Thailand, then Indonesia.

“I was there for so many years, but did not get a salary – not even one riel … I was a fool to work there,” he said.

Tok Ravvy, 18, a fisherman on the same boat, said he had got the number of the Cambodian Embassy in Indonesia from a repatriated friend and called its emergency hotline.

They and two others were eventually repatriated by the Cambodian and Indonesian authorities and the International Organisation for Migration.

Tok Ravvy said there were still “hundreds” of Cambodian fishermen stranded overseas.

Fellow returnee Ly Cheang Long, 24, said he had been misled by promises of a high salary.

“I was told I could get up to 10,000 baht [US$325] per month, but I worked as a slave without money,” he said.

According to the Ministry of Interior, 12,000 migrant workers were repatriated in 2011.

Suos Sok Srey Mom, research coordinator at IOM, said cases of fishermen being stuck abroad for longer than three years were rare but did exist.

“They do not have the chance to escape and have no contacts to ask for help,” she said.

Ten Borany, deputy director of the Ministry of Interior’s anti-human trafficking department, said investigations into the case were under way and authorities were searching for the brokers.

Separately, three fishermen arrived in Kampot province on Saturday after being rescued by a Vietnamese boat.

Toch Polak, deputy chief of the sea border department in Kampot, said the trio had jumped overboard when their employer tried to kill them, and were picked up by the Vietnamese boat.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sen David at [email protected]

MOST VIEWED

  • Angkor Wat named as the top landmark for the second year

    Travel website TripAdvisor has named Cambodia’s ancient wonder Angkor Wat as the top landmark in the world for the second year running in their Travelers’ Choice Award 2018, an achievement Cambodian tourism operators expect will attract more tourists to the Kingdom. The website uses traveller

  • New US bill ‘is a violation of Cambodian independence’

    After a US congressmen introduced bipartisan legislation that will enact sanctions on Cambodian officials responsible for “undermining democracy” in the Kingdom, government officials and the ruling Cambodian People’s Party on Sunday said they regarded the potential action as the “violation of independence and sovereignty

  • Hun Sen detractors ‘will die’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday said those who curse or insult him would eventually die without a plot of land to bury their bodies after being killed by lightning, suffering the same fate as those who recently died in Thmar Baing district in Koh

  • Ministry’s plan for net sparks fears

    The government has ordered all domestic and international internet traffic in the Kingdom to pass through a Data Management Centre (DMC) that has been newly created by the state-owned Telecom Cambodia, in a move some have claimed is an attempt to censor government critics. Spokesman