No payment for most Myanmar victims of human trafficking in Indonesia
INDONESIA has said that only 11 fishermen out of more than 600 rescued from human traffickers on remote islands have been awarded compensation.
According to Police Lieutenant Colonel Thet Naung of Myanmar’s Anti-Human Trafficking Unit, enquiries were made of the Indonesian government concerning these trafficking victims at a multi-governmental meeting held in Nay Pyi Taw on October 18 and 19.
“We asked the Indonesian officials at the meeting about this case. They told us that their courts had so far decided to compensate 11 fishermen,” U Thet Naung said.
When asked about the remaining victims, he added that Indonesian officials said they had yet to receive enough information to investigate or try their cases.
“When the fishermen returned home, we collected data from more than 400 of them but we did not receive adequate information from some of them. Some of the fishermen did not know who owned the trawlers they worked on. We transferred all the data we compiled to the Indonesian authorities,” the anti-trafficking officer said.
Myanmar has repatriated more than 600 fishermen who were found marooned on islands in the far south of Indonesia last year after facing brutal, slave-like conditions mainly on Thai vessels fishing illegally.
Indonesian authorities have made a pledge to continue looking into the fishermen’s cases based on the data they have been provided. For Myanmar’s part, authorities will try to elicit further information from the victims, U Thet Naung said.
He was unable to guarantee any further compensation would be given to the remaining victims, however.
For the fishermen who have been awarded compensation by the Indonesian courts, deliberations are currently being made about how the men will be paid.
“Indonesia has yet to decide whether they will bring the money to Myanmar to give to the fishermen or whether they will have to travel to Indonesia to claim it. We have asked to officially be informed of their decision once it has been made,” said U Thet Naung.
The meeting held in Nay Pyi Taw was aimed at fostering legal cooperation between countries on exploitation and human trafficking in the fisheries industry. It was attended by representatives of Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia and Indonesia.
In addition to the Indonesian government’s statements at the meeting, Thai officials announced that their government was in the process of implementing an inspection and registration regime of vessels operating in their territory.
– Translation by Zar Zar Soe