Many in Thai fishing industry fail to see conditions as slavery – research

Posted By Stop Illegal Fishing:9th Feb, 2018: Fisheries Crime

Thai fishing boat owners who trap workers on board ships and withhold wages often do not realise that is modern slavery, so authorities must ramp up their policing efforts, advocates say.

Research shows many fishing operators are oblivious that the grim conditions on board their ships amount to forced labor, according to a recent report.

Many operators know smuggling people across borders and forcing them to work at sea for long periods of time is wrong but see withholding documents or forcing them to pay off debts as acceptable, said the report by Issara Institute, a Bangkok-based anti-trafficking organisation.

Thailand’s multibillion-dollar seafood sector has been the target of scrutiny in recent years following investigations that found slavery, trafficking and violence on fishing boats and in onshore processing facilities.

“Vessel owners exploit fishermen yet view themselves as benevolent patrons,” said the report, released last month, based on interviews with 75 Thai captains and large fishing boat owners.

The findings show a need for stronger efforts to improve the working conditions and bring the fishing industry in line with anti-trafficking laws, advocates said.

“It’s all going to come down to enforcement,” Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

The military government in Thailand has rolled out industry reforms since the European Union in 2015 threatened to ban its fish imports, but little has changed, Human Rights Watch said in a report also released last month.

Shawn MacDonald, chief executive of Verite, a charity fighting labor injustices, said the Issara findings provide insight useful for crafting incentives against forced labor.

“It’s really important that we understand their perspective so we can pull the right levers,” he said.

The world’s third largest seafood exporter, Thailand’s fishing industry employs more than 300,000 people.

About 25 million people globally were estimated to be trapped in forced labor in 2016, according to the International Labour Organisation and rights group Walk Free Foundation.

Source: Eco-Business

Recent Posts

FISH-i Africa continues to strengthen efforts to combat illegal fishing

By Dr Motseki Hlatshwayo (SADC Secretariat) and Mr. Per Erik Berg (Stop Illegal...

Read More...

Illegal fishing deprive SADC states of revenues

Windhoek- The SADC Secretariat has advised Namibia during its tenure as regional chair...

Read More...

South Africa: Hout Bay Protest Turns Violent After Poaching Death

By Kimon De Greef Believing that members of an anti-poaching patrol had killed...

Read More...

High power Japanese fisheries delegation arrives in Liberia

A high-power Japanese delegation has arrived in Liberia as guest of the National...

Read More...

SIF News Categories

The Issues

One in four fish in Africa is caught illegally, this threatens the sustainability of fish stocks, damages the ecosystem and deprives governments of income and people of livelihoods.

Find Out More...

Our Approach

Creating change by informing policy and practice, our hands on experience and investigative work means we are often the first to spot new trends and find ways to challenge these.

Read More...

Our Initiatives

Illegal fishing is a complex issue that requires multifaceted responses. Stop Illegal Fishing are working with a range of organisations to bring about change.

Find Out More...

Recent Posts

FISH-i Africa continues to strengthen efforts to combat illegal fishing

By Dr Motseki Hlatshwayo (SADC Secretariat) and Mr. Per Erik Berg (Stop Illegal...

Read More...

Illegal fishing deprive SADC states of revenues

Windhoek- The SADC Secretariat has advised Namibia during its tenure as regional chair...

Read More...

South Africa: Hout Bay Protest Turns Violent After Poaching Death

By Kimon De Greef Believing that members of an anti-poaching patrol had killed...

Read More...