While the Global Slavery Index 2018 estimates that there are less than 1000 people living in conditions of modern slavery in Fiji, it nevertheless remains a source, transit and destination country for men, women and children subjected to forced labour and sexual exploitation. Workers from South and East Asian countries are often subjected to forced labour in small and informal farms and factories, construction, and on fishing vessels that transit through Fiji or board fishing vessels (mainly China and Taiwan-flagged) from Fiji ports and waters.
Ki Pheakdey was 22 years old when he was trafficked by the recruitment agent Giant Ocean Intl Limited from Cambodia to Fiji where he was forced to work for 3 years on a fishing vessel.
The recruitment agency offered me a three year contract. Only after its completion would I be able to come back to Cambodia. The agency promised to send men to work in Japan. When I asked them about the kind of work I would do there, they told me that I would work in the fishing industry.
I managed to come back to Cambodia when the agency used my passport to issue an air ticket. When I asked them about the cost of the ticket, they answered me that they cut it from my salary. I feel happy, I never expected to be back.
I worked on a fishing vessel for 30 months. I was not able to contact my family. I did not know how they were. My foot hurt for two years. I am able to walk but it still hurts. I had to work even if it hurt. I told the captain but he did not care.
[Someone died on the vessel]
He was Indian. He was sick. There was no doctor while we were on board. He worked until he died. They froze it [his body] with fish.
By filing a complaint, I would just like to ask for the amount of money that the agency promised me for my three years of work on a vessel. The amount would be between around USD 6,000 and USD 7,000. It would reach around USD 10,000 including bonus and overtime. I would like to get this money back. I don’t want to claim more.
If the recruitment agency doesn’t pay me, I want the government to put them in prison for 10 to 15 years.
Original narrative to be found here