Ministry Intervenes in Case of Fishermen in Indonesia

The Foreign Affairs Ministry says it is working to release and repatriate 18 Cambodian fishermen believed to have been trafficked to Indonesia.

The 18 were arrested by Indonesian authorities after being caught illegally fishing from a Thai-owned vessel in the country’s Riau Archipelago, the ministry said in a statement yesterday.

There was little other information about the fishermen, the statement said. Foreign Affairs Minister Prak Sokhonn has dispatched Cambodia’s Ambassador to Indonesia, Norng Sakal, to “go down to review the situation and health of those migrants.”

Describing the fishermen as “victims of human trafficking,” the minister also instructed Mr. Sakal to request their release and cooperate with the International Organization for Migration in Jakarta to quickly repatriate them to Cambodia.

More than 300 Cambodian fishermen were repatriated from Indonesia last year after being being rescued from what they described as slave-like conditions aboard Thai boats operating in Indonesian waters.

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