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Centre set up for victims of forced labour

The Nation - 31 March 2015 - A ONE-STOP service centre has been set up by a special multi-ministerial task force at the Tantui seaport on Indonesia's Ambon island so Thai and foreign labourers forced to work in the fishing industry can return home.

A ONE-STOP service centre has been set up by a special multi-ministerial task force at the Tantui seaport on Indonesia's Ambon island so Thai and foreign labourers forced to work in the fishing industry can return home.

More than 80 fishermen reportedly registered yesterday under an initiative being administered by the Social Development and Human Security Ministry, the Labour Ministry, the Foreign Affairs Ministry and the Department of Special Investigation.

Anusan Tianthong, inspector-general of the Social Development and Human Security Ministry, said the centre had four main goals: to help both Thai and foreign labourers on Ambon island; to tackle human trafficking; to identify and return dead labourers; and to return labourers to their home countries.

"In order to help the victims of human trafficking and forced labour, we're offering protection and a remedy for them," Anusan said. "We are also helping them find a new job, helping them in their cases and appealing for their rightful pay from their former employers."

He said the Indonesian government was cooperating with Thai authorities very well on the repatriation of fishermen and steps were being taken to identify the victims of human trafficking.

"The government is taking human trafficking very seriously. This issue is going to be on the national agenda," he said.

The Thai Overseas Fisheries Association is also helping Thai fishermen on Ambon island, as well as Indonesia's Benjina island.

"We set up centres to help Thai labours in every matter. If they wish to return home, we can deal with the Immigration Bureau to send them back home," the association's president Apisit Thechanithisawat said.

"We also proposed that the authorities inspect the fishing vessels before they start their journeys, in order to reduce the illegal labours [working on them]."

Apisit said Thailand's fishing industry image and the image of the country had been affected by this issue being in the spotlight.

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Source: http://www.nationmultimedia.com/national/Centre-set-up-for-victims-of-forced-labour-30257084.html

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