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Migration agency: 4,000 fishermen, many slaves, stranded on Indonesia islands AP investigated

  • In this Saturday, Nov. 22, 2014 image, Kyaw Naing, a slave from Myanmar, talks to a security guard through the bars of a cell at the compound of a fishing company in Benjina, Indonesia. An aid group said Friday, March 27, 2015, that an estimated 4,000 foreign fishermen are stranded on a number of remote islands in eastern Indonesia, including men revealed in an Associated Press investigation to have been enslaved. (AP Photo/Dita Alangkara)

    In this Saturday, Nov. 22, 2014 image, Kyaw Naing, a slave from Myanmar, talks to a security guard through the bars of a cell at the compound of a fishing company in Benjina, Indonesia. An aid group said Friday, March 27, 2015, that an estimated 4,000 foreign fishermen are stranded on a number of remote islands in eastern Indonesia, including men revealed in an Associated Press investigation to have been enslaved. (AP Photo/Dita Alangkara)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this Thursday, Nov. 27, 2014 image from video, Kyaw Naing, a slave from Myanmar, looks through the bars of a cell at the compound of a fishing company in Benjina, Indonesia. An estimated 4,000 foreign fishermen are stranded on a number of remote islands in eastern Indonesia, including men revealed in an Associated Press investigation to have been enslaved, an aid group said Friday, March 27, 2015. (AP Photo/APTN)

    In this Thursday, Nov. 27, 2014 image from video, Kyaw Naing, a slave from Myanmar, looks through the bars of a cell at the compound of a fishing company in Benjina, Indonesia. An estimated 4,000 foreign fishermen are stranded on a number of remote islands in eastern Indonesia, including men revealed in an Associated Press investigation to have been enslaved, an aid group said Friday, March 27, 2015. (AP Photo/APTN)  (The Associated Press)

The International Organization for Migration says an estimated 4,000 fishermen are stranded on a handful of islands in Indonesia, including men revealed in an Associated Press investigation to have been enslaved.

Steve Hamilton, the group's deputy chief of mission in Indonesia, says many of the men were abandoned by boat captains in Benjina village and surrounding islands following a government moratorium on foreign fishing that has docked vessels to crack down on illegal operators.

"It is reasonable to expect many are victims of trafficking, if not outright slavery," he says.

The group helps Indonesian authorities repatriate trafficked migrant fishermen.

The year-long AP investigation found men locked in a cage. More than 40 migrant workers from Myanmar said they had been brought from Thailand and forced to work.