Phnom Penh, Cambodia - After four years on the run, Cambodian labor trafficker Nai Nang was arrested by the Cambodian police with the help of IJM Cambodia's expertise.
Nang was one of the main traffickers who recruited 11 Cambodians in 2014 to cross the border to work on Thai fishing boats. The victims were ensnared by a common labor trafficking tactic where they were promised a monthly wage of ฿8,000-15,000 Baht ($266-500 USD), but were deceived and never paid. Instead, the men were forced to work long hours, given limited food rations, and endured physical and mental abuse while trapped for ten months.
Thankfully, the Cambodian victims were rescued when Thai police seized the vessel. The International Organization of Migration helped facilitate the repatriation of eight Cambodian survivors back to their home country.
Attempts to hold a trafficker accountable on both sides of the border
IJM Cambodia worked with the Human Rights Development Foundation in 2017 to work on the cases to bring Nang to justice. Among the three cases against Nang, two were led by IJM Cambodia. The Cambodian Anti-Human Trafficking and Juvenile Protection Department(AHTJPD) and other partners worked on another case that led to arrest warrants being issued from a court in a Cambodian province.
With a close relationship with Thai citizens because of his business, Nai Nang was able to evade Cambodian law enforcement detainment for many years.
Despite not being in custody, Nang was convicted and sentenced to eight years imprisonment in Cambodia for violating the Law on Suppression of Trafficking & Sexual Exploitation in May 2019. In close collaboration between Cambodia National Police and IJM Cambodia, an arrest warrant was obtained from the lower court in Phnom Penh to arrest and detain Nang.
On the other side of the border in Thailand, Nang was arrested by the Thai police in September 2019. However, the Thai court dismissed the case the next year and released him from custody because sufficient evidence to prove his guilt was not presented. Nang was not repatriated back to Cambodia upon release and his whereabouts became unknown.
Nang's location finally secured with investigatory help from IJM Cambodia
Years passed by with the Cambodian warrant out for Nang's arrest. On December 20, 2022, Nang was arrested by AHTJPD police in the Battambang province of Cambodia.
Lieutenant General Chiv Phally said, “By collaboration between IJM Cambodia and the General Commissariat of National Police, we were able to identify and locate the charged person Nai Nang, and as well as the direction from General Neth Savoeun, Commissioner General of National Police has commanded Lieutenant General Chiv Phally, Deputy Commissioner General of National Police to lead police officers to conduct the arrest on Nai Nang on December 20, 2022.”
“The arrest of Nai Nang, a significant player in cross-border trafficking, after he has escaped justice for over four years, is a big step in deterring other traffickers from engaging in this exploitative crime that causes so much misery for many Cambodians,” Jacob Sims, Field Office Director of IJM Cambodia said.
“The AHTJPD did a great job of never giving up on pursuing Nai Nang on behalf of the victims and the people of Cambodia. We applaud them and encourage them to continue holding all traffickers accountable for their crimes. The victims can now believe in the public justice system to hold perpetrators accountable,” Sims added.
After five years, the survivors are relieved and grateful after achieving justice and they hope to explore opportunities to provide a better life for their families.