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Myanmar: Over 100 casualties, disappearances in Ayeyarwady raft fishing business December 03,2019   |  Source: Myanmar Times

U Shwe Paw, administrator of Daw Nyein village tract in Pyapon, said that 37 of the 201 people who were reported missing in 2017 and 2018 were confirmed dead. "There are many migrant workers here, few of them skilled,” U Shwe Paw said. But he denied reports that forced labour and slavery are rampant in the area. Ko Myat Thura Tun, a student at Dagon University, was recently reported to have been trafficked and forced to work on a floating fishing raft. He was rescued by his family.

U Than Chaung, chair of the Raft Fishing Entrepreneurs Association, told a press conference in Pyapon on Saturday that fishing boat owners recruit people from across the country because there are not enough local workers. Many owners just accept workers brought by illegal job brokers without interviewing them or checking their backgrounds.

He added that some workers give false names and addresses. He said some were on the run from the law, military deserters, runaways, or mentally ill. "Eighty percent of the workers here have no contact with their families,” he said. “All came here by their own decision." He said the association would try to hold its members accountable if they are found to have hired trafficked people.

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Years in Support of Small Scale Fishworkers (1986 - 2018)