February 17, 2017

Trafficked fishermen back from Indonesia

Migrant workers repair a net on a Thai fishing boat in Thailand’s Rayong province. Two Cambodian migrants trafficked from Thailand onto a Malaysian vessel returned home yesterday. Nicolas Asfouri/Afp

Erin Handley and Phak Seangly, The Phnom Penh Post
Fri, 17 February 2017

Two Cambodian men who were trafficked from Thailand onto a Malaysian fishing vessel were repatriated from Indonesia on Wednesday evening, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday.

The pair was part of a larger group, 16 of whom were returned to the Kingdom last month. Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Chum Sounry said the two men had remained behind in order to testify against their traffickers.

“The Indonesian authorities requested to delay the departure of the two [so they could] be witnesses in the court process against the owner of the boat,” he said.

They were returned home with the help of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Cambodian Embassy in Jakarta has been working to secure the workers’ salaries.
It has been a long process for the trafficked workers, who departed Cambodia for Thailand in June of last year, and were then transported to Malaysia in July.

The men were not paid their promised 5,000 baht ($142) per month – they were promised more if they caught extra fish – and were required to work 15 hours a day with insufficient food.

They were arrested and detained by authorities on July 28 when the vessel entered Indonesian waters illegally, and determined to be victims of trafficking in November.

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