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Assistance is being provided by the Burmese embassy in Jakarta to the fishermen who were rescued from an island in Indonesia, on which they were kept in slave-like conditions.
Around 300 fishermen were rescued by Indonesian government officials on 3 April from the remote island of Benjina, where they had been exploited as slave labour for several years, according to Kyaw Soe Thein, the second consul of the Burmese embassy in Jakarta. Two hundred and fifty seven of those rescued were Myanmar nationals.
Kyaw Soe Thein, who was standing ready to provide assistance to those rescued on a nearby islane, told DVB: “The rescued fishermen have been moved from Benjina Island to the Tural Island by the Indonesian government. Among them are Burmese, Laos and Cambodian nationals.
“We are planning to travel to both Tural and Benjina islands. Today we met with the local deputy-chief of the local police who handles human trafficking issues. We are making arrangements with them to travel to Tural tomorrow.”
A high-level Burmese government delegation consisting of anti-human trafficking, police, immigration and social welfare officials are tipped to travel to Indonesia to make arrangements for the repatriation.
“When we meet the fishermen, we will collect their personal details and send those to the immigration and foreign departments to verify their national status. Once that’s done, we will issue them with travelling documents and air tickets to return home.”
Indonesian authorities provided healthcare to the fishermen, some of whom were found to be in poor health.
The International Organisation of Migration says that there are around 4,000 foreign nationals enslaved on Benjina and other surrounding islands.