BOGOTA: Thirty-seven South Asian migrants without visas have been detained in Colombia after they were abandoned by human traffickers, officials said Friday.
They were found near the town Riosucio that borders Panama after being "abandoned by individuals who transported them from one country to another," said the Colombian Navy in a release.
The migrants -- 36 men and one woman -- came from Bangladesh, Nepal, India and Pakistan.
Officials transferred them to the port town Turbo on the coast of the Gulf of Uraba, part of the Caribbean Sea. There they received food and medical attention before taken into the custody of migration authorities, said the statement.
Colombian officials have intercepted 322 undocumented individuals in Turbo, the majority Cuban, who are now in a shelter awaiting word from migration officials who will decide if they can stay, said Emelides Munoz, Turbo's government secretary.
Within the past 15 days more than 750 undocumented migrants have been arrested throughout Colombia.
The country has deported more than 6,000 people since the beginning of the year, arresting nearly 4,000 in Turbo and the town Capurgana, both close to the Panamanian border.
On May 9 Panama announced plans to strengthen border controls in an attempt to stem the migrant flow, including Cubans attempting to reach the United States via Central America.