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BANGKOK 21 February 2019 12:21
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Jacob Maslow

Overfishing in Thailand Leads to Boat Slavery

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Thailand is the third-largest seafood exporter on the planet. But that may soon change, according to a new report.

The Environmental Justice Foundation, a British non-profit organization, released a report today that states overfishing and illegal trawlers have nearly destroyed Thailand’s marine ecosystems and have severely depleted fish stocks. Boats are catching 85% less fish than they were 50 years ago. The report called the region the “one of the most overfished” in the world.

With fish stocks depleted, Thai fishing boats are forced to travel far away from home. The organization estimates that nearly half of all fish labeled “product of Thailand” is actually sourced from waters outside the country’s borders – mostly in Asia, but sometimes as far as Africa.

According to the report, Thailand’s seafood industry is mostly dependent on cheap migrant labor. Most Thais are not willing to travel so far from home for a low-paying, dangerous job. To ensure that companies meet consumer demands, agents and brokers have emerged that recruit workers from impoverished countries, such as Cambodia and Myanmar, either through trickery or actual kidnapping.

Men, who are sometimes as young as 13, are sold and sent onto boats to work 18-20 hour days. They receive little food and boiled sea water to drink. Some workers are abused or killed by their captains. Workers are sometimes trapped on these boats for months – or years. These vessels are mainly used to pick up catches and to deliver supplies.

Thailand has responded to labor abuse concerns by implementing a plan to clean up the industry. The plan includes the establishment of a national illegal migrant worker registry and stricter labor regulations on boats and in the seafood industry as a whole. While changes are being seen, it’s difficult to enforce regulations once fishing boats travel out into international waters.

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-- 2015-02-26

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The owners of these boats should be hold responsible for this shameful modern slavery business.

Edited by HiSoLowSoNoSo
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Thainess always , rules the day wait till there is no fish, the sea is very barren and no one seems to worry about it

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The main reason for which I have given up eating seafood in Thailand. The other reason is Thailand's grossly environmentally destructive and polluted fish farming industry. In fact, eating flesh of any kind has become a big problem, given the grossly abusive factory farming practices by which most animal meat is produced, and the extremely inefficient use of the world's arable land resulting from the growing of animal feed.

Consequently, I'm almost a vegetarian these days.

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http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/number-of-slaves-found-on-indonesian-island-at-almost-550/ar-AAaETWA

JAKARTA, Indonesia — The number of enslaved fishermen found on a remote Indonesian island has now reached nearly 550, after a fact-finding team returned for a single day to make sure no one had been left behind nearly a week after more than half of the men were removed in a dramatic rescue.

Many of the 210 identified Thursday were Burmese who wanted to leave, but there were a few holdouts — men who claimed they were owed years of back pay from their bosses, said Steve Hamilton, deputy chief of mission at the International Organization for Migration in Jakarta.

An in-depth investigation by The Associated Press published last month led to the discovery of massive rights abuses in the island village of Benjina and surrounding waters. The report traced slave-caught seafood from there to Thailand where it can then enter the supply chains of some of America's biggest supermarket chains and retailers.

Many of the men interviewed said they were tricked or even kidnapped before being put on boats in Thailand and taken to Indonesia. They were forced to work almost non-stop under horrendous conditions, some brutally beaten by their Thai captains when they were sick or caught resting.

Last week, Indonesian authorities rescued around 330 migrants from Benjina, bringing them to the island of Tual, where they are now being sheltered by the government. Those found Thursday by a team, which included Myanmar officials, remain in Benjina.

It's unclear who will pay for the mass repatriation. A former slave now in Tual said conditions were relatively good there. He said the men are getting medical care and enough to eat, but their living quarters are cramped and many do not have a change of clothes since they left quickly with only what they were wearing.

Meanwhile, Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi told reporters Thursday in her country's capital, Naypyitaw, it was up to governments "to protect the rights of the citizens and to bring them back out of bondage."

"That is the most obvious and very simple solution and unavoidable duty of any responsible government," she told reporters.

While most fisherman found in Benjina were Burmese, there also were scores of Cambodians. The toll of 550 did not include men — many of whom also were enslaved — from poor parts of Thailand.

___

McDowell reported from Yangon, Myanmar. Associated Press writer Aye Aye Win contributed from Naypyitaw, Myanmar.

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The owners of these boats should be hold responsible for this shameful modern slavery business.

No just seize the boat and use it as artificial reef......saves time and hassle at the court

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