Forced Labor in the Fishing Industry Sector

Figure 1: Forced Labor on Thailand’s Fishing vessels; source, (Mutaqin, 2018)

The image above is an illustration ofCambodian sea slaves on Thai fishing boats. The image depicts how Thailand’s fishing vessels have been associated with child abuse, poor working conditions, inappropriate employment terms, ineffective recruitment processes, and labor rights violations.

Ideally, labor and human trafficking have remained severe issues in the fisheries sector. Thailand seafood slaves film is about a Cambodian boy who has been enslaved in Thai fishing trawler. The film has investigated slavery and forced labor in the multi-billion-dollar seafood industry. The film has raised awareness about slavery and forced labor and other forms of crimes in the fishing sector, especially in Thai land, thus preventing people from falling victims to the human traffickers.

Most of the fisher’s experience forced labor since they are migrant works vulnerable to severe human rights abuse and slavery. The migrant labours are likely to be forced and misled by recruitment organisations and agentsto grindon-board vessels (International Labour Office, 2013). Forced labor in the seafood sector persists due to workplace isolation, high competition, a ready supply of vulnerable workers, and poor living standards of migrants who comprise the largest number of workers in the fishing vessels.

Illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing have been major contributors to organized criminal activities such as human trafficking, drug trafficking, arms smuggling, and slavery. This indicates that there is a clear relationship between environmental crimes and terrorism. According to De Coning (2011), the most annoying finding is the severity of abuses of trafficked fishers to work under forced labor on board fishing vessels. These conditions can only be defined as inhuman and cruel due to instances of sexual and physical abuse, deaths, general disregard, poor working conditions, and coercion (Desai and Shambaugh, 2021).However, the conditions of the local communities, such as poverty, have limited their abilities to eliminate the forms of criminal activities in the fishing sector.

The international community should focus on the development of industry-specific labor standards as an effective way of addressing the forced labor and slavery in the fishing sector. International Labour Office (2013) indicated that the fishing sector lacks a universal legal framework that can secure the working conditions of fishers. Therefore, implementation of safety and labor standards will greatly contribute to curbing forced labor and preventing international crimes such as human trafficking in the fisheries sector.

References

De Coning, E. (2011). Transnational Organized Crime in the Fishing Industry: Focus on: Trafficking in Persons, Smuggling of Migrants, Illicit Drugs Trafficking. United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

Desai, R. M., & Shambaugh, G. E. (2021). Measuring the global impact of destructive and illegal fishing on maritime piracy: A spatial analysis. PloS one16(2), e0246835.

International Labour Office. (2013). Caught at sea: forced labor and trafficking in fisheries. International Labour Office.

Mutaqin, Z. Z. (2018). Modern-day slavery at sea: human trafficking in the Thai fishing industry. JE Asia & Int’l L.11, 75.

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