Rescue mission launched to save sea slaves following Fareham woman's appeal

A RESCUE mission to help find and save 70 sea slaves has taken place after more than £9,000 was raised through a fundraising appeal.

Wednesday, 12th October 2016, 6:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 25th October 2016, 5:53 pm
One of the rescued fishermen

The mission, which was funded after Alex Burch, from Fareham, set up a GoFundMe page to rescue stranded fisherman off several remote islands around Indonesia and New Guinea, took place in the last two weeks.

Alex got involved with the mission after hearing about the tribulations faced by fisherman in the area in which many men had been drugged and then subjugated into forced labour aboard ships.

She told The News yesterday that earlier this week she was told that the mission, which was led by the Labour Rights Promotion Network, had taken place and that it was confirmed at least one man had been rescued.

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Alex Burch

Alex said that it was unclear how many others had been saved.

She said: ‘I know that they have managed to get word of one man’s rescue to his father via Facebook and that his family thought he was dead.

‘He had been a sea slave for the past seven years and is on his way to Thailand back to his family.’

Alex had set up the appeal in June on GoFundMe after hearing stories about how the men ended up in slavery and got in contact with LPN to see how she could help.

Alex Burch

Within four months, £9,200 was raised for the rescue mission and Alex says it is ‘inspiring’ to get a public response of that level.

She added: ‘In all honesty, I know a lot of people get asked to donate all the time and it can get wearisome. But some people just stepped up for this one and wanted to help people they will never meet. It is inspiring.’

Alex reserved praise for those who undertook the mission.

She said: ‘The people behind the LPN network are true defenders – that I know.

‘They cannot do enough in their own minds and they save life after life, allowing people to reunite time and again, and be rescued from a life of hardship and modern slavery.

‘I have so much respect for the work they do and I was pleased to help out just a little bit when they needed to get the boat out again.’

The LPN network has managed to save more than 3,000 slaves to date.