RANGOON — Fourteen Burmese fishermen rescued from Indonesia’s Ambon Island were returned to Rangoon on Tuesday, state-run media reported.
Police Col. Ye Win Aung of the Rangoon Division Anti-Trafficking Police Force was quoted as saying the fishermen had “faced difficulties with some brokers after they left to work in Thailand,” with the officer adding that authorities would investigate whether the men were victims of human trafficking.
The fishermen are from several states and divisions across Burma, and are now being sheltered at the Social Welfare Department in Rangoon’s Mayangone Township. Authorities are arranging for their return home.
According to state media, a total of 1,010 Burmese fishermen were rescued from Indonesia in 2015. So far this year, 28 Burmese nationals have been returned, between Tuesday’s arrivals and a similar repatriation on Jan. 5.
The plight of many of these returnees, who often faced exploitive working conditions for little or no pay on Thai-owned fishing trawlers, was first documented in an investigative report by The Associated Press in March 2015.