IOM Joins Mission to Indonesia’s Ambon Island

A global migration body Thursday began working to identify victims of human trafficking on Indonesia’s Ambon island, where 199 Cambodian fishermen are awaiting repatriation.

At the request of the Indonesian government, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) on Thursday joined a small “fact-finding mission” on the island led by the country’s Ministry of Fisheries, according to Paul Dillon, a project manager for IOM in Indonesia.

“At this time it is unclear exactly how many foreign fishermen there are, what their circumstances are and how they came to be on Ambon island,” Mr. Dillon said in an email.

“The first day focused on one of the ports on the island where a number of what local officials have identified as foreign fishing vessels have been berthed.” According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, there are 199 Cambodian fishermen on Ambon, all victims of human trafficking.

Nearly 100 Cambodian fishermen have already been repatriated with the help of the IOM over the past few weeks, after being rescued from forced labor on Thai-captained fishing boats that were using another island as their hub.

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