By Wendy Laursen 2015-06-25 19:19:28
A court in Myanmar has convicted 20 crew members of violating the country’s immigration act in relation to human trafficking. The men were on a ship, found off the country’s coast in May, carrying 208 migrant workers, reports Voice of America.
The crewmen, including the Thai captain, were each sentenced to five years’ prison. The charges relate to entering the country illegally, and the men are yet to face further charges specifically relating to human trafficking offences.
The migrants on board had reportedly been imprisoned in horrific conditions at sea for three months. Most were from Bangladesh and some claimed to have been kidnapped and sold to human traffickers.
The vessel was destined for Malaysia or Indonesia but was intercepted by the Myanmar navy off the coast in Maungdaw after it changed course to avoid naval patrols in the Strait of Malacca.
Thousands of migrants were stranded at sea this year after Thailand began a crackdown on smuggling gangs.