by Jack Lapauve Jr – EM TV, Port Moresby
PNG Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill, has confirmed that a foreign fishing vessel has been detained in Papua New Guinea for carrying people believed to be the victims of human trafficking.
The 8 people rescued are of Cambodian and Myanmar nationality and are now being accommodated in a safe location until further arrangements.
Prime Minister O’Neill said the Government was alerted that the vessel, Blissful Reefer, was in PNG waters with forced labors onboard.
“There are other vessels of interest in the area and we are following lines of inquiry into their activities.
“We mobilized assets of Papua New Guinea security agencies to conduct a search which located the fishing boat the Blissful Reefer.
The boats 19 crew, including the Captain, were brought to Port Moresby for further questioning.
O’Neill said PNG will engage with regional partners to establish a network to track and detain vessel with slaves on board.
“The challenge for the region is to not only arrest the captain and crew of such vessels, but to find the organizers of this disturbing trade in human suffering,” he added.
Additional information on the current operation to intercept and board vessels believed to be involved in human trafficking will be released as this becomes available.