No pay­ment for most Myan­mar vic­tims of hu­man traf­fick­ing in In­done­sia

The Myanmar Times - - News - PYAE THET PHYO pyae­thet­phyo@mm­

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

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