Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Trafficking victims rescued from Thai vessel

Trafficking victims rescued from Thai vessel

Trafficking victims rescued from Thai vessel

More than 50 trafficking victims are set to return to Cambodia after their Thai fishing boat was intercepted when it illegally crossed into Indonesian waters last month.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Chum Sounry yesterday said 54 Cambodian nationals were arrested on April 12 and detained in Pontianak, Indonesia. “The Indonesian authorities considered those workers victims of human trafficking and not perpetrators,” Sounry said.

One of the victims, Seak Leng, from Prey Veng province, said in an interview that he migrated to Thailand on January 4 in search of work, but was cheated by a broker and sold to an illegal Thai fishing boat. Leng described slave-like conditions, saying he was forced to work day and night, given insufficient food and not paid a cent.

The victims managed to hide a cellphone and last week made contact with Yi Vong, a relative to five of the imprisoned victims. Vong then reached out to human rights groups and Cambodian authorities for help.

Leng said embassy officials were now assisting with passports and plane tickets to bring the victims home.

“In two or three weeks more, we might be able to return to Cambodia,” Leng said from prison. “I want to give advice to all Cambodian people; please not to cross the border illegally as I did, because when they arrested us, we found it difficult to return home.”

Sem Chausok, a human rights observer at Licadho, said 500 victims had been rescued from similar trafficking schemes in the past three years, adding that lack of work in Cambodia pushed people to migrate, making them vulnerable to exploitation.

MOST VIEWED

  • Cambodia unveils new quarantine regulations

    The government has modified Covid-19 quarantine requirements, shortening the duration for, among others, Cambodian officials, foreign diplomats and delegations, investors and inbound travellers in general. According to an official notice signed by Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng late on October 16, quarantine length for Cambodian

  • Cambodia sets new Covid-19 quarantine rules

    The government has modified Covid-19 quarantine requirements, shortening the duration for, among others, Cambodian officials, foreign diplomats and delegations, investors and inbound travellers in general. According to an official notice signed by Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng late on October 16, quarantine length for Cambodian

  • Hun Sen: Cambodia set to fully reopen

    Prime Minister Hun Sen concludes that the October 5-7 Pchum Ben public holiday, during which many people either flocked to their hometowns for family reunion or gathered at tourist attractions across the country, has not caused an outbreak of Covid-19. In a special address to

  • Will Evergrande change the way Chinese developers do business in Cambodia?

    China’s property sector policy has exposed the grim financial condition of real estate developers including those operating in Cambodia, which raises questions over the viability of their projects and business going forward The dark blue netting draping over one of Yuetai Group Co Ltd’

  • Cambodia resumes issuance of tourist visas

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation has announced the resumption of its tourist visa and visa exemption programme after a long hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic. In a letter dated October 20 and addressed to foreign embassies and consulates, foreign minister Prak Sokhonn

  • Cambodia voted ‘world’s friendliest country’ in Rough Guides reader poll

    Cambodia ranked number one among the “World’s Friendliest Countries”, according to a reader poll conducted by London-based international website “Rough Guides”. Taking submissions through Twitter and Facebook, “Rough Guides”, a well-known travel agency and publisher of guidebooks, said the Kingdom “was by far the