Thai fishermen trapped on Ambon Island return home

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BANGKOK, 28 March 2015 – The government has successfully brought home 21 Thai fishery workers who were abused by human traffickers on Ambon Island of Indonesia while assuring that help is underway for other groups of victims.

After having been lured to work on fishing boats and fallen prey to human traffickers on Ambon Island, the 21 fishermen of Thai nationality safely arrived at Don Mueang Airport in Bangkok Friday night. Among those giving a warm welcome to the group at the airport were officials from various agencies involved in the rescue, including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security, as well as families and friends.

According to the Social Development and Human Security Ministry, the workers have been escorted to a shelter in Pathum Thani for initial protection and questioning. Information provided by them will be useful in the effort to prosecute individuals or groups responsible for abusing them. Compensation and assistance will also be given to all 21 workers and their families as a follow-up to the rescue mission.

Mr Sek Wannamethi, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson and Director-General of the Information Department, revealed that authorities in Thailand have been in close coordination with the Thai Embassy in Jakarta in order to reach out to Thai workers trapped on remote Indonesian islands. He revealed that six more workers are set to come home on April 1 while five more on Bejina Island are undergoing immigration checks and their return is expected within two weeks.