BENJINA, Indonesia (AP) — The Indonesian government says it is moving foreign fishermen from an isolated island where slavery in the fishing industry was exposed last week by an Associated Press investigation, out of concern for their safety.
The director general of Indonesia’s Marine Resources and Fisheries Surveillance initially told a group of about 20 Burmese men he would move them from Benjina village to neighboring Tual island for their safety following interviews with officials on Friday.
However, as news spread that men were getting to leave the island, dozens of others started filing in from all over and sitting on the floor.
When the official, Asep Burhundun, was asked if others hiding in the jungle could come as well, he said, “They can all come. We don’t want to leave a single person behind.”
Fishermen who are Thai nationals will remain on the island. Most of the boat captains are from Thailand.