Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Trafficked fishermen rescued in Indonesia

Trafficked fishermen rescued in Indonesia

Trafficked fishermen rescued in Indonesia

More than 60 Cambodian men trafficked into slave labour aboard fishing boats have again been rescued in a foreign country, this time in Indonesia.

Several groups of Cambodian men who have escaped brutal conditions aboard fishing boats after being lured to Thailand with the promise of lucrative jobs have already been rescued in Malaysia, Thailand and Mauritius.

In a statement yesterday, Koy Kuong, spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said the men were from different provinces in Cambodia and were lured to work illegally on Thai fishing boats for many years.

“Thirty of the total 65 Cambodian human trafficking victims will travel back home next week,” the statement said.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Cambodian ambassador in Indonesia and the International Organisation for Migration had co-operated to repatriate the men, it said.

Lim Tith, National Project Co-ordinator at the United Nations Inter-Agency Project on Human Trafficking, said that, according to victims, there were about 1,000 men in Indonesia who had escaped fishing boats, although they could provide little additional information.

“This is the really difficult thing. Many of the victims do not recognise the boat, but they say the other crew members are Burmese or Thai,” he said.

“And they only know the nickname of the captain, but they do not know exactly the name of the boat.

“This is really challenging for [organisations attempting to] counter trafficking.”

The number of men rescued from Ambon, in Indonesia, had been reported to him as 63, not 65, Lim Tith said.

Meas Saneth, a program manager at Co-ordination of Action Research on AIDS and Mobility, said the victims had crossed into Thailand from Banteay Meanchey province seeking work in 2010, after which their parents contacted CARAM asking for help.

“The process [of repatriation] is under way, and we are now dealing with our partners and the IOM,” he said.

Bruno Maltoni, a project coordinator for the International Organisation for Migration, said he was too busy to comment. A consular official from the Cambodian embassy in Indonesia said he was not authorised to talk to the press.

MOST VIEWED

  • Serious flooding across country

    The Kampong Speu provincial Committee for Disaster Management on Wednesday issued an alert after non-stop heavy rain caused widespread flooding. In Koh Kong province, authorities are working with the disaster committee and the Cambodian Red Cross to assist those affected after more than 350 homes were

  • CNRP points to King in call for vote boycott

    Leaders of the former Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) have taken a new tack in their call for a boycott of the national elections later this month. They are now claiming that the people should follow the King, who is expected to abide by tradition

  • Actress’s NGO takes heat for promoting the ruling party

    An actress’s NGO which participated in an election campaign event contrary to the Law on Association and Non-Governmental Organisations (Lango) has been slammed. Chorn Chanleakena, a celebrity and the president of the Association of Artists Volunteering to Help Society, allegedly led its members in

  • Troop moves ‘won’t worry people’

    Senior officials at the Ministry of Defence and National Police said on Tuesday that riot training provided to the country’s police forces were aimed at preventing unexpected demonstrations and strikes before and after the July 29 national elections. The troop mobilisation, they said, would not