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Tearful Cambodians recount slavery ordeal at sea

Reports say that slavery is rife throughout South East Asia and Cambodians are frequently the victims. Much to their relief, a group of 12 young men yesterday found their way home.

  • Sen David
  • Cambodia
  • January 19, 2012
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Finally home after a two-year nightmare that led them into slave labour aboard fishing boats, 12 repatriated Cambodian men despairingly recounted their ordeal at Phnom Penh International airport yesterday and warned others not to fall into the same trap.

The men were rescued in Indonesia after falling into an all too familiar path of exploitation in which victims are promised lucrative jobs in Thailand only to find themselves forced onto fishing boats when they arrive.

Struggling to put words together, 19-year-old Rotha said yesterday he did not receive even “one riel” of salary aboard a fishing boat after taking up a broker’s offer in 2009 and vowed never to seek employment overseas again.

“[We] had to clear fish from the net so much, sometimes more than 10 tonnes [in one day]. I and another man had to work nearly 24 hours, with only two hours to sleep,” he said, urging others not to take the same risks he did.

“If I did not work, they would beat me and hit me.”

Toch Dern, 30, from Pailin province, said he was promised a job as orange picker by a broker in Cambodia, but was sold to a fishing boat when he arrived.

“Every day at sea, I prayed to God to help me to come back home. Now the government and the [International Organisation for Migration] have helped me. I thank them,” he said.

Full Story: Fishermen recount horror

Source: The Phnom Penh Post
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