The Cambodian embassy in Malaysia has repatriated 14 Cambodian fishermen who fled a Thai boat and are believed to be human trafficking victims, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.
In a statement released yesterday, the ministry said the 14 fishermen fled their Thai fishing vessel when the boat docked in Malaysia’s Sarawak state.
Aged between 19 and 44, the victims are from Kampong Thom province’s Sandan district.
“All of them were cheated by brokers to work on the fishing boat when they made the move to Thailand in 2016,” the statement said. “They returned home by air on Sunday.”
Dy Thehoya, programme officer for the Centre for Alliance of Labour and Human Rights, said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ efforts in urging embassies abroad to assist and rescue Cambodian workers must continue.
“We assume the conditions of the workers on the Thai boats were akin to slavery,” Mr Thehoya said. “But I have rarely seen Thai owners who were involved in human trafficking imprisoned for their crimes.”
He added that the Foreign Affairs Ministry should pressure Thai authorities to crack down on these types of criminals.