In May 2017, the IJM Cambodia team watched as the panel of three trial judges found three accused persons guilty under the anti-trafficking law for their role recruiting and transporting ten men into forced labor slavery on fishing boats. However, only one of the accused was present during trial hearing at the time. The other two were on the run.
For three years they evaded justice while police and IJM searched. Then last month, with IJM support , the Siem Reap Anti-Human Trafficking Police successfully executed an Arrest Warrant for one of the sentenced men. The third convicted trafficker is still at large, as law enforcement in the two countries concerned continue to search for him.
The ten Cambodian survivors had been trafficked between 2012-2014, with promise of work in Thailand in exchange for a transportation fee. In the end, the they were transported and handed over to various fishing boats where most of them were given either low or no wages, were physically abused and endured long hours of brutal and hazardous work with no freedom to leave the boat.
These three traffickers also have several ongoing cases against them, in both Cambodia and Thailand. Two of the survivors, a father and son, are still actively participating in the open case against the traffickers.
“The willingness of survivors to participate through the legal procceding, and collaboration between law enforcement and civil society are what made this arrest successful,” Nara Chea, Senior Attorney for IJM Cambodia said. “This demonstrates that there is hope to eliminate human trafficking both domestically and cross-border.”