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Samnang & Sopheak

2015 (Narrative date)

Cambodia remains a source, transit and destination country for men, women and children subjected to forced labour and sex trafficking. Cambodian adults and children migrate to other countries within the region and increasingly to the Middle East for work; many are subjected to forced labour on fishing vessels, in agriculture, in construction, in factories and in domestic servitude—often through debt bondage. Significant numbers of male Cambodians continued to be recruited in Thailand to work on fishing boats and subjected to forced labor on Thai-owned vessels in international waters. Cambodian victims escaping from this form of exploitation have been identified in Malaysia, Indonesia, Mauritius, Fiji, Senegal, South Africa, and Papua New Guinea. Cambodian men reported severe abuses by Thai captains, deceptive recruitment, underpaid wages, and being forced to remain aboard vessels for years. 

In 2010, two brothers Samnang and Sohpeak left their home and country to find work they hoped would help their struggling family. The brothers were deceived and trafficked on to fishing boats where they were forced to work long hours with no rest and subjected to physical abuse.



I registered when I heard from the people who made an announcement in our village. In the first wave, there were almost 1000 men registered. They were lied to. We were all lied to.

I need justice. I am poor these days. I need compensation for the work I have done. If an organization came here to recruit I would attempt to go again. I would try and make sure the company was legal with insurance and things like that. But then I would go again.



The work was very risky and the waves were huge, they were bigger than our ship. I thought I would never get back home.

It was very tough. We had so little rest. It’s like after we had fished we could rest, we were allowed one or two hours rest then we would be roused to work. They used three languages all mixed together. I didn’t understand, so I was beaten up. I was always beaten and kicked.


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