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Myanmar: The former slave from Myanmar exposing Asean’s rights failures by Karim Raslan January 09,2017   |  Source: South China Morning Post Asia

“There was no hope for us. Every day was the same. We’d wake up at 5am. I would have to do everything from catching the fish, jumping down into the nets, to cleaning them and even the cooking. There were those who just couldn’t work. They were beaten and if you fell ill, they’d give you the simplest of medicines. You’d be forced to work without any rest … What the captain did to us just wasn’t human.”

Hlaing Min, a 30-something Burmese man, is strikingly matter-of-fact as he describes his more than two years of virtual enslavement in a fishing fleet plying the waters of Benjina, part of the Aru Islands in eastern Indonesia.

Hailing from the Myanmar town of Myawaddy, on the Thai border, he is one of hundreds of predominantly Myanmar nationals whose stories were exposed by the Associated Press (AP) in an extraordinary series of articles on slavery and tuna fishing in the Arafura Sea in 2015.

He is also a victim of the failure of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) to care for its most vulnerable peoples, just as its much-vaunted Asean Economic Community (AEC) is kicking into high gear. Hlaing Min’s father died when he was four, leaving his mother to support him and his two sisters. Once married, and coping with a weakened Myanmar economy

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