Indonesia, Myanmar cooperate to resolve human trafficking case in Benjina

Indonesia, Myanmar cooperate to resolve human trafficking case in Benjina

Photo document of ship's men of Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia in Benjina arrived in Tual, Maluku Province, on Saturday (May 4, 2015). (ANTARA/Ministry of Marine Fisheries)

... Myanmar has allowed its citizens to become witnesses in the court in Indonesia."
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Indonesias Witness and Victim Protection Agency (LPSK) expressed its readiness to cooperate with Myanmar to resolve the human trafficking case in Benjina, Aru Island, Maluku Province.

"The LPSK along with the relevant parties is cooperating with the government of Myanmar to present the witnesses in the trial," Deputy Chairman of LPSK Edwin Partogi Pasaribu stated here on Friday.

Since September 4, Partogi has been in Myanmar to meet the witnesses of the Benjina case.

According to Partogi, the LPSK had informed about the developments in the Benjina slavery case, including the trial schedule and the protection of the witnesses from Myanmar.

"In principle, the government of Myanmar has allowed its citizens to become witnesses in the court in Indonesia," he stated.

Meanwhile, Deputy Chairman of the LPSK Askari Razak pointed out that Myanmar had agreed to allow access to the agency to meet the witnesses and the victims family in Yangon.

He noted that the meeting was held to gather additional information and to seek the approval of witnesses to testify in the court.

Moreover, the witnesses informed the LPSK about the threats they had received.

"During the meeting, the LPSK explained about the protection granted to the witnesses in Indonesia," he remarked.

In addition, Myanmar voiced its support to the witnesses to testify in the court.

"Myanmar has invited us to conduct a joint investigation based on international cooperation, which is expected to offer restitution to the victims," he affirmed.

To realize the cooperation and collaboration, Myanmars police are ready to share information with the Indonesian National Police, or the relevant ministries on another story related to Benjinas victims.

Thus, the national police, or other relevant ministries can conduct further investigations.

Earlier, the Associated Press of the United States had released a video titled "Was Your Seafood Caught by Slaves?" that showed several prisons and tombs believed to be the cemetery for the crew members of the ship in Benjina.

Police investigations revealed human trafficking in Benjina, and the institution detained seven suspects in Aru and the Southeast Maluku Resort Police office in connection with the case.

Five of the seven suspects were identified as Thai nationals.

The police have also detained Herman Martino, who is believed to be the leader of the Benjina company, as a suspect.

Chief of the Aru Islands Resort Police Harold Huwae stated that the investigation was still ongoing. The company had allegedly violated human trafficking laws.