Worker Voice in Thai Fishing
The government identified 824 trafficking victims in 2016, compared with 982 victims in 2015. There were increased inspections conducted by multidisciplinary teams of the Command Centre for Combating Illegal Fishing (CCCIF) resulted in few identified trafficking victims. Observers said that during the reporting period, interviews were conducted in front of ship captains, or ship captains acted as interpreters, which hindered workers from speaking freely and may have led to unidentified trafficking victims. Others reported the inspection process often only consisted of a review of documents, and in some cases, inspectors reportedly did not board vessels or speak to crew members.
Critical gaps in Thailand’s labour laws preventing migrant workers from forming labour unions may contribute to exploitation says the TIP report. In addition, NGOs and international organizations widely reported that the government did not adequately enforce the application of minimum wages in sectors with high employment of migrant workers.
It is only when fishing boat labourers are able to freely and fully use their voice to describe what has been happening that we are going to get a full picture of what is happening. It is a basic human right and an insurance that change can happen.
Issara Institute has only been going for 4 years yet have made some significant steps in bringing together Business, Government and Workers to work on prevention and changes in the fishing industry in SE Asia. They believe they can transform the lives of millions of workers in global supply chains through worker voice, partnership and innovation. In the last 2 years they have linked over 60,000 migrant workers into Issara’s Inclusive Labour Monitoring system – 5,530 of these were found to be in forced labour and human trafficking situations. They have researched the patterns emerging in Labour abuse in their 2017 report Not in the Same Boat
Issara Institute have also developed an App Golden Dreams backed up by a hotline in Myanmar, Khmer and Lao and Thai languages. It enables workers to securely get information, assistance, and referrals to migrant workers and victims of labour abuses through these calls, and also stays abreast of changes in labour situations in key areas and industries of internet, using data analysis to inform strategy on outreach and intervention activities. People can get information and register on Facebook and review empolyers and labour agents. 5,449 (Dec 17) have used the App in Myanmar alone.
Fuzz Kitto from STT attended their 2017 Global Forum and had a chance to meet with the Global Human Rights executive director of Walmart, the head of Sustainability for Marks and Spencer and similar people as well as other NGO’s and government and industry leaders also attending the forum and working with Issara to change the reality of human trafficking and slavery.
Sign our Ask for a Sea-change through the button on the website asking for a common, recognisable, slave free, sustainable and environmental standard for seafood we buy in our shops. More info about what Issara Institute is doing can be seen Here