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Indonesian fishermen helping human traffickers receive Rp10m each June 12,2012   |  Source: Tempo Interactive

Rote fishermen in the Nusa Tenggara province of Indonesia are chosen because they are noted as skilled seamen able to traverse the seas toward Australia by only a makeshift boat.

A local agent from East Rote, East Nusa Tenggara, he asked Tempo last April not to identify him. Almost all fishermen in East Rote were under his control. They could be hired as a boat's crew as mechanic and skipper to transport immigrants to Australia. The fee was at least Rp10 million per person.

Rote fishermen were sought after because they are used to looking for sharks up to Christmas Island, Australia. Without a compass or GPS (global positioning system) they were able to find their way there," said the local agent. Each boat would be manned by 3 to 4 Rote seamen.

Despite the handsome fees, the seamen had to run many risks. Many of them fatally drowned. Even if they managed to get to Australia, most of them were arrested. Until last May, 514 Indonesian fishermen were detained in Australia over human trafficking cases. About 30 of them were minors.


© TEMPO 2003

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