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Thread: Thailand's seafood industry: state-sanctioned slavery?

  1. #251
    Thailand Guru
    Join Date
    Sep 2017
    Bangkok / UK
    Hush Hush

    Keep eating your goong Farang and Chinese.. Keep paying your money.

  2. #252
    Indonesia court upholds seizure of illegal fishing vessel
    October 28, 2017

    JAKARTA, Indonesia Indonesia says it has won a two-year court battle that confirms the legality of the government's seizure of a Thai vessel linked to human trafficking and illegal fishing in Indonesian waters.

    Minister of Fisheries and Maritime Affairs Susi Pudjiastuti said the "monumental" ruling from a court in Aceh province shows that governments can win in the fight against cross-border crime.-

    Pudjiastuti said in a statement this week the ministry plans to make the refrigerated cargo ship, Silver Sea 2, part of a museum to teach the public about illegal fishing.

    The ship was seized by Indonesia's navy in August 2015 amid a crackdown on illegal fishing and after an Associated Press investigation showed its links to human trafficking in the fishing industry.

    Several months before its capture, the ship and Thai fishing trawlers had abruptly left an island in remote eastern Indonesia, where the Thai fishing industry held trafficked crew members captive, to escape a government crackdown on illegal fishing.

    The AP, which was investigating slavery on fishing vessels, subsequently identified where the cargo ship had fled using satellite images from U.S.-based Digital Globe that became evidence in the Indonesian government's court case.

    Pudjiastuti said the vessel's violations included intentionally turning off electronic systems that allowed the ship's location to be tracked by maritime authorities and other vessels. DNA testing was used to prove that the $1.5 million of fish on board was from Indonesian waters.

    When identified in the Digital Globe satellite images, the Silver Sea 2 was in Papua New Guinea waters, receiving illegal Indonesian catch from two fishing trawlers in a process known as transshipment.

    It was captured by an Indonesian navy vessel off the island of Sumatra after returning to Indonesian waters. The Thai captain was detained and a probe launched into suspected human trafficking, transporting illegal fish and off-loading the catch at sea.

    The Pulitzer-prize winning AP investigation resulted in the freeing of more than 2,000 men from Myanmar, Cambodia, Thailand and Laos, more than a dozen arrests, the changing of U.S. legislation, and lawsuits. However, the global seafood industry continues to be plagued by illegal fishing and labor abuses at sea.

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  3. #253
    Thai Union and Nestlé Launch Demonstration Boat to Promote Human Rights in Fishing Industry
    Wednesday, December 13, 2017


    Thai Union Group PCL and Nestlé have launched a demonstration boat to promote human rights of workers in the Thai fishing industry. The boat is the first of its kind in Thailand.

    The two companies, in collaboration with global non-profit Verité, renovated a standard Thai fishing boat, transforming it into a modern vessel demonstrating improved working conditions and labor standards.

    The renovated boat demonstrates the standards set for boats greater than 24 meters by the International Labor Organisation’s (ILO) C188 convention for human rights at sea, as well as Thailand’s updated fisheries regulations.

    To meet these standards and regulations, boat owners should provide proper safety equipment as well as adequate and clean food and drinking water for the crew. Appropriate rest, dining and leisure areas on-board the vessel demonstrated with this vessel, is mandatory, along with a first-aid kit and toilet facility with proper sanitation standards.

    Regularly scheduled viewings and training workshops will demonstrate to boat owners and crew how to improve the working standards for fishers at sea.

    The initiative started in March 2016, supported by the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center (SEAFDEC) and the Thai Department of Fisheries (DOF).

    “Human rights abuses have no place in our supply chain. Nestlé is committed to improving livelihoods in the communities in which we operate. We will continue to work with the Thai fishing industry through our supply chain to exhibit best practices in respecting and promoting human rights for fishery workers,” said Benjamin Ware, Global Head of Responsible Sourcing for Nestlé.

    “Holding up human rights and providing safe, legal and freely-chosen employment in our own facilities and in supply chains is critically important to Thai Union,” said Dr. Darian McBain, Thai Union’s global director for sustainable development. “While we have significant programs in place for our own employees, we partner with government and stakeholders on projects such as this to ensure that those working in the wider industry are protected.”

    Thai Union and Nestlé helped fund development of the refurbished boat, including providing required tools and equipment, along with ongoing various expenses associated with its demonstration and training sessions.

    The project is in line with Nestle’s Thailand Action Plan for Responsible Sourcing of Seafood and Thai Union’s sustainability strategy, SeaChange® – an integrated plan of initiatives, organized into four programs, to drive meaningful improvements across the entire global seafood industry. SeaChange® programs include safe and legal labor, responsible operations, responsible sourcing, and people and communities.



    Thai Union Group PCL is the world’s seafood leader bringing high quality, healthy, tasty and innovative seafood products to customers across the world for almost 40 years.

    Today, Thai Union is regarded as the world’s largest producer of shelf-stable tuna products with annual sales exceeding THB 125 billion (US$ 3.7 billion) and a global workforce of over 46,000 people who are dedicated to pioneering sustainable, innovative seafood products.

    The company’s global brand portfolio includes market-leading international brands such as Chicken of the Sea, John West, Petit Navire, Parmentier, Mareblu, King Oscar, and Rügen Fisch and Thai-leading brands SEALECT, Fisho, Bellotta and Marvo.

    As a company committed to innovation and globally responsible behavior, Thai Union is proud to be a member of the United Nations Global Compact, and a founding member of the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF). In 2015, Thai Union introduced its SeaChange® sustainability strategy. Thai Union’s on-going work on sustainability issues was recognized by its inclusion in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index Emerging Markets (DJSI) in 2014. In 2017, Thai Union was named to the DJSI for the fourth consecutive year.

    Thai Union has also been included in the FTSE4Good Emerging Index.

    About Nestlé

    Nestlé is the world’s largest food and beverage company. It is present in 189 countries around the world, and its 328,000 employees are committed to Nestlé’s purpose of enhancing quality of life and contributing to a healthier future. Nestlé offers a wide portfolio of products and services for people and their pets throughout their lives. Its more than 2000 brands range from global icons like Nescafé to local favourites like Milo. Company performance is driven by its Nutrition, Health and Wellness strategy. Nestlé is based in the Swiss town of Vevey where it was founded more than 150 years ago.

    ( Press Release Image: )

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  4. #254
    Thai government to buy up 1,900 fishing trawlers
    December 20, 2017

    Panel overseeing sector agrees to compensate owners amid threats from fishermen and pressure from the EU to rein in illegal fishing and gross abuse of migrant fishermen on vessels

    A fishing boat returns to Samut Sakhon port near Bangkok in this file shot from 2011. The Prayut government is looking to buy up about 1,900 vessels that have been idle since tougher regulations were imposed to eliminate illegal and unregulated fishing.
    Photo: iStock

    The Thai government has agreed to buy 1,900 fishing vessels back from their owners to placate fishermen, who have been upset by the military administration’s tougher fisheries policy.

    A spokesman for the military said the committee overseeing the sector had decided to buy the trawlers, which have been unable to operate over the past two years because of tougher regulatory conditions, the Bangkok Post reported.

    The administration was forced to rein in activities of the local fishing industry after threats of trade retaliation by the European Union in 2015.

    Foreign and local labor activists plus human rights groups have long condemned the Thai fishing industry as a sector out of control, with a history of gross abuse of foreign crews and rampant overfishing, which is said to have greatly depleted local seas of fish.

    EU pressure to act on illegal fishing

    The EU has been pressing Thai authorities to combat illegal, unreported and illegal (IUU) fishing for several years, saying the country needed to ratify and adopt the International Labour Organisation’s convention on work in the fishing industry, enact measures to combat IUU fishing and create a sustainable fishery plan.

    The Prayut government responded by amending fishery laws and introducing “maximum sustainable yields” to reduce over-fishing – limiting the number of boats, plus reducing the number of days fish can be caught from 300 to 210. This undermined the profitability of vessels and caused 1,900 boats to be docked.

    It also set up a system to monitor both vessels – while they are at sea, plus when they return to Thai ports – and new measures to better ensure that crews, including thousands of workers from adjacent countries and migrants in fish processing factories receive fair pay and working hours, as well as suitable living conditions.

    Fishermen threatening to rally

    The Thai Fishery Association, which acts on behalf of large trawlers, called on the government to help fishermen affected by its “tough” policies and buy back boats to offset losses. The association has networks of fishermen in coastal provinces and was threatening to rally to pressure the government.

    The committee overseeing the sector, headed by Defense Minister Gen Prawit Wongsuwan, agreed to set up a fund to help needy fishermen. Loans from the Government Savings Bank will be used to buy up the vessels for an amount that has yet to be disclosed.

    A further 130 million baht (about US$4 million) collected from fishery licenses will also be used, as the government sees the problem as one that must be dealt with promptly. A spokesman likened the situation to the cloud that hung over the aviation industry in regard to licensing and meeting international safety standards.

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  5. #255

    Thai Union Group
    Published on Jan 9, 2018

    This documentary-style video highlights how Thai Union and Mars Petcare, along with a coalition of other partners, are capitalizing on modern technological advances to promote sustainability and boost human rights in the fishing and seafood industry. The video explores Inmarsat’s “Fleet One” terminals being successfully installed on fishing vessels in Thailand, and introduces audiences to the crew members, captains and fleet owners trained on chat applications which enable them to connect with families and peers around the world while at sea—an industry first for Thai fisheries.

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  6. #256
    'It was torture': Grim tales in Thai fishing sector despite reforms
    Beh Lih Yi
    Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's rights, trafficking, property rights, climate change and resilience. Visit
    January 23, 2018

    KUALA LUMPUR(Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Trafficked into work and routinely abused, migrant fishermen in Thailand are still subject to forced labor despite efforts by the government to clean up the industry, advocacy groups said on Tuesday.

    Migrant workers prepare to unload their catch at a port in Samut Sakhon province, Thailand, January 22, 2018.
    Picture taken January 22, 2018. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha

    Thailand’s multibillion-dollar seafood sector came under scrutiny in recent years after investigations showed widespread slavery, trafficking and violence on fishing boats and in onshore processing facilities.

    The military, which took power since a 2014 coup, has rolled out reforms since the European Union in 2015 threatened to ban fish imports from Thailand unless it clean up the industry. But the advocacy group Human Rights Watch (HRW) says little has changed.

    Brad Adams, the group’s Asia director, said the measures should have given consumers in Europe, the United States and Japan the confidence that Thailand’s seafood does not involve forced labor.

    “Yet despite high-profile commitments by the Thai government to clean up the fishing industry, problems are rampant,” he added in a statement.

    In a report released on Tuesday, HRW included testimonies from some 248 current and former fishermen who described their horrific working conditions. The workers, almost all from Myanmar and Cambodia, were interviewed between 2015 and 2017.

    Migrant workers sort fish and seafood unloaded from a fishing ship at a port in Samut Sakhon province, Thailand, January 22, 2018. Picture taken January 22, 2018. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha

    “It was torture. One time I was so tired I fell off the boat, but they pulled me back on board,” Zin Min Thet from Myanmar was quoted as saying in the report.

    “You can’t leave because if you leave you won’t get paid, and if you want to leave at the end it’s only if they let you,” another fisherman Bien Vorn from Cambodia told the New York-based rights group.

    The world’s third largest seafood exporter, Thailand’s fishing industry employs more than 300,000 people, many of them migrant workers from neighboring countries. The sector has long been dogged by allegations of abuses.

    The Labour Rights Promotion Network Foundation, a Thai advocacy group that supports migrant fishermen, said reforms introduced by the government often are not enforced by local officials.

    “The situation of forced labor is still serious. Very often the fishermen have no salary or cannot change their job,” its founder, Patima Tungpuchayakul, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone from Thailand.

    More than a third of migrant fishermen in Thailand were victims of trafficking, according to a study of 260 fishermen by anti-trafficking group the International Justice Mission last year.

    The study found three-quarters of migrants working on Thai fishing vessels have been in debt bondage and work at least 16 hours a day.

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  7. #257

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  8. #258
    Human Rights Watch: Thailand is failing to combat human trafficking
    Talal Husseini
    Talal is a reporter for the Verdict network focusing on the food supply chain and related political, health and environmental issues
    26th January 2018

    Over the past two years Human Rights Watch (HRW) has interviewed 248 current and former Thai fishing industry workers, revealing the extent it’s supported by human trafficking.

    Along with human trafficking abuses, HRW uncovered low salaries, long working hours, and a lack of basic health and safety regulations.

    Among the interviewees some 95 workers were recognised as victims of trafficking by the Thai government.

    Burmese trafficking survivor Zin Met Thet said:

    [Working in the Thai fishing industry] was torture. One time I was so tired I fell off the boat, but they pulled me back on-board.

    Pattani resident Thet Phyo Lin said:

    If I want to quit working here I need to request permission from the employer. Some employers allow us to leave, but some will claim we must pay off debts first. For example, if I can pay 25,000 Thai baht [$762] to an employer…he may allow me to leave, but if he isn’t satisfied…I would have to pay whatever he demanded.

    Thai government efforts

    According to HRW, the Thai government has failed in its attempts to mitigate human rights abuses from the fishing industry.

    The National Council for Peace and Order, Thailand’s military dictatorship, introduced new human rights guidelines for the fishing industry after taking power in 2014.

    The government attempted to overhaul monitoring, control and management regimes and created new interagency inspection frameworks across the country, with official inspectors employed to search fishing boats on departure and arrival to port.

    Some workers have obtained official documentation from the government. Penalties for infringing on the rights of fishermen have increased substantially.

    While the government has cracked down on illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, it has failed to protect migrant fishermen from abuses by ship owners, crew members, traders and even members of the police force, according to HRW.

    In 2015 the Thai Ministry of Labour reviewed the working conditions of almost 500,000 workers and did not find a single case of forced labour.

    A more recent study also failed to find any instances of legal breaches regarding hours of work, salary disputes, treatment on-board, or other criteria violating the Labour Protection Act of 1998 or the 2014 Ministerial Regulation.

    HRW Asia director Brad Adams said:

    The Thai government’s lack of commitment means that regulations and programmes to prevent forced labour in the fishing industry are failing. International producers, buyers, and retailers of Thai seafood have a key role in ensuring that forced labour and other abuses come to an end.

    International response

    As a result of the Thia fishing industry’s human rights abuses, people in Europe, North America, and Japan may unintentionally be eating seafood caught by victims of human trafficking

    Adams said:

    The European Union should make access to its market for fishing products contingent on the end of forced labour in Thailand’s fishing industry.

    With a market value of $6.5bn per year, Thailand is the world’s largest seafood exporter and sells most of its fish to US and Japanese importers.

    The UK is Europe’s largest importer of Thai seafood, buying £135m in 2015.

    The EU issued Thailand with a so-called yellow card warning over its fishing practices in 2014 and 2015, following media reports into human trafficking.

    HRW has presented its findings to the European Parliament and the EU could now vote to ban seafood imports from Thailand.

    The group said:

    [HRW] are not calling for a ban on imports now, but if the Thai government does not make sufficient progress in the coming year and labour conditions are as bad as they are now, we would start calling for a red card.

    If the EU moves to ban seafood from Thailand it could have a serious impact on the Thai fishing industry.

    Adams said:

    The [Thai fishing association] would look for other markets obviously but the markets will be saturated so it will have a devastating effect on the Thai fishing industry and I think it would lead to concerted action by the Thai fishing association to clean up their act.

    Meanwhile, the US has placed Thailand on its tier two watch list — the second-worst rating — in its latest report on human trafficking.

    Last year Thailand outlawed forced labour by means of debt bondage and another law set to be brought in could provide better protection of the broader implications of forced labour.

    However, HRW found inspectors need better resources and training to help investigate abusive practices and workers who speak out against abuse need to be protected while punishing offenders.

    HRW recommended employers be responsible for paying recruitment costs to prevent extortion and employees should be made aware of their rights.

    The HRW report — titled Hidden Chains: Forced Labour and Rights Abuses in Thailand’s fishing industry — documents specific cases of human rights violations suffered by migrant fishermen trafficked from neighbouring Southeast Asian countries.

    A version of this story originally appear on You can read it here

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  9. #259
    Quote Originally Posted by Mid View Post
    For Americans, the calculation is worrisome. Thailand is the United States’ second-largest supplier of foreign seafood. Of America's total seafood imports, one out of every six pounds comes from the Southeast Asian nation. The accounts of ex-slaves, Thai fishing syndicates, officials, exporters and anti-trafficking case workers, gathered by GlobalPost in a three-month investigation, illuminate an opaque offshore supply chain enmeshed in slavery.
    Thanks for the link.

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