Fishermen Repatriated After Arrests in Indonesia

Twenty-seven of 54 fishermen detained off the coast of Indonesia were set to fly home to Cambodia on Monday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.

The 54 were among 150 people arrested for illegal fishing from Thai-owned vessels near the Indonesian island of Pontianak, according to the ministry.

In a statement on Monday, it said 27 of them were due to arrive at Phnom Penh International Airport in the evening, with the remainder scheduled to arrive on Monday next week.

Fishermen interviewed earlier this month claimed they had sought work on the Thai ships voluntarily—and were paid for their labor—but a separate Foreign Affairs Ministry statement released earlier this month said they were victims of human trafficking and that their repatriation would be assisted by the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

“The [Cambodian] embassy worked with the International Organization for Migration and determined that 54 Cambodian people were the victims of trafficking,” the ministry said at the time.

“The IOM will prepare to buy the plane ticket for those 54 Cambodians.”

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