Men Enslaved in Indonesia Rescued and Repatriated

Nineteen Cambodian men were repatriated Sunday morning after being rescued by Indonesian authorities from slavery on Thai fishing boats, according to Foreign Ministry spokesman Koy Kuong.

The Cambodians were among hundreds of mostly Burmese men who had been lured from their homes with promises of jobs, then enslaved on two Thai fishing boats in Indonesian waters, Mr. Kuong said.

He said he could not recall when the rescue took place, but that it was likely last month. “After Indonesian authorities rescued all the fishermen from two Thai fishing boats, they contacted the Cambodian Embassy in Indonesia to inform them…and the Cambodian Embassy immediately sent officials to meet them to determine their identities.”

The spokesman said the 19 Cambodian men all appeared to have been tricked by people promising them proper jobs abroad. “When they arrived, it turned out to be different,” he said. He added that none of the Cambodians had passports or other travel documents, so the Cambodian Embassy had issued travel passes for them.

The return of the 19 men follows reports of another large-scale raid Saturday on an island in Indonesia where hundreds of slaves were being held, including an unknown number of Cambodians, according to The Associated Press.

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