23 trafficked Cambodians rescued from Thai fishing boats in Mauritius

Cambodia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Saturday that it had rescued 23 Cambodian laborers, who were trafficked to work as illegal fishermen on Thai fishing boats in Mauritius.

"With the cooperation from Mauritius authorities, 23 Cambodian laborers were rescued when Thai fishing boats illegally fished in Mauritius' maritime territory," Koy Kuong, spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said in a statement.

The ministry is closely working with the International Organization for Migration in order to return those victims to Cambodia, he said, adding that they will be repatriated to Cambodia next week.

Trafficked fishermen are frequently forced to work long hours and physically and psychologically abused. They are often unpaid and forced to serve on voyages for months or even years. As they have no documentation, they are often unable to seek protection from the authorities in Thailand or abroad.