Second report highlights Thai human trafficking


SeafoodSource staff

Published on
September 2, 2013

Nonprofit group Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF) is praising a second report from another organization that is spotlighting occurrences of human trafficking in the Thai fishing industry.

The EJF that featured testimony from Thai fishermen alleging abuse, forced labor, and even murder in the industry. Now, a new report from the International Labor Organization (ILO) is making similar allegations.

The report comes from interviews with nearly 600 fishermen, most of them migrants to Thailand from Myanmar and Cambodia. According to the report, 17.3 percent of the fishermen said they had been threatened by someone they worked for or with, and 101 of the respondents said they were forced to work against their will.

“The ILO report substantiates our conviction that human rights abuses are widespread in the fishing industry, both in Thailand and elsewhere,” EJF said in a statement. “The uncomfortable truth is that fish caught on such vessels has been tracked through international supply chains to the European and U.S. seafood markets. Fish caught by these modern-day slaves is reaching our own plates.”

According to the EJF report, many fishing workers were lured away from low-paying factory jobs with the promise of more money. The report alleged many of these workers then were forced to work for little or no pay, and any who resisted or tried to escape were beaten, and even killed.

Since the EJF released its report, Thai authorities have arrested three key members of a reputed Burmese human trafficking gang, but Thailand remains on a Tier 2 watch list from the U.S. State Department. In time, the American government could levy sanctions against Thailand for abuses the State Department said marks Thailand as a “hub” fur human trafficking.

Keep checking SeafoodSource for all the latest news on the Thailand human trafficking issue

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