IOM report reveals widespread human trafficking in Thai fishing industry

A new report published by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) has revealed that the multi-million-dollar fishing industry in Thailand is involved in widespread human trafficking.

Thai fishermen

Thai fishermen

Thailand is the world’s largest exporter of tuna and shrimp. But following a typhoon in 1989, fishermen from the North-east of the country largely abandoned the fishing industry.

The remaining fishermen, desperately in need of labour, began recruiting migrant workers from Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar. Thai brokers then stepped in to facilitate the process.

Jemini Pandya, from IOM says now people are regularly being trafficked to work in the industry:

“Young migrants who’ve been desperate for work have been frequently deceived by promises of well-paid jobs aboard the boats but are in fact sold to boat owners. They then have to work to pay off the money paid by the boat owner to the broker, before being paid any wages. Depending on the amount paid, a trafficked fisherman could work for one to eight months, before earning any wages for themselves. In some cases trafficked fishermen may work without pay for years on boats that are serviced by supply ships, and rarely return to port, according to the report.”

Duration: 35″

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