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Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Cambodians trafficked into slavery in Thai waters

Tue Sep 6, 2011
By Sonia Labboun,
Watch video on Press TV

Every year, hundreds of Cambodian men, many from poor rural areas, are lured away from their homes with the promise of better jobs in Thailand. Many ending up on Thai fishing boats working 20-hour per day.

According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), about 125,000 Cambodians are registered as legal workers in Thailand, including more than 25,000 in the fishing sector. Taking into account the limited economic opportunities for Cambodians at home, it is believed that the number of illegal Cambodians in Thailand is much higher.

In 2009, over 89,000 Cambodians were deported from Thailand for being illegal, among them more than 20,000 were reportedly trafficked, according to a 2010 UNIAP Human Trafficking Sentinel Surveillance. It added that those on fishing boats far from Thai shores for up to a year at a time are impossible to track.

According to The United Nations Inter-Agency Project on Human Trafficking, most of the deportees who were exploited choose not to report their cases due to fear of their broker, employer or just a lack of understanding of their rights. Thai authorities say there is little can be done about the trafficked Cambodians working on Thai fishing boats, especially if they do not report it.

The fishing industry in Thailand remains at the margins of laws in the matter of workers regulation. According to NGO's “investigations of migrant trafficked on Thai fishing boats are practically nonexistent. Thai authorities are urged to do more to make of this matter history.

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