Released today, EJF’s new report underscores the shortcomings in public and private sector efforts to combat human trafficking, forced labour and debt bondage in Thailand’s fishing sector.
EJF’s new investigation returns to Kantang to uncover that IUU fishing, modern slavery, torture and murder still plague the fishing operations of companies previously investigated in 2013. The report and film features interviews with victims of exploitation and abuse who escaped from Boonlarp Fishing vessels, a company owned by the President of the Trang Fishing Association.
EJF’s investigation highlights how a flagship Government initiative of 2015, the new Port-in, Port-out (PIPO) system, is resolutely failing to identify fishers in need of assistance and how corrupt local officials continue to be complicit in criminal activities.
The report also presents evidence of severe risks that fishmeal tainted by forced labour and IUU fishing is entering international supply chains via multiple routes, including a top-five Asian feed producer, one of Thailand’s largest agro-industrial and food conglomerates and one of the biggest privately-held corporations in the world.
Following the submission of a detailed dossier of EJF evidence to Thai authorities, 12 fishers were rescued from Boonlarp boats in an at-sea operation in late October and the owner of Boonlarp and 7 of his associates, 4 of whom were identified by EJF’s investigation, were subsequently arrested on 7 November.
EJF’s new report underscores the urgent need for Thailand to undertake a nationwide programme of intelligence-led enforcement to suppress modern slavery in the fishing sector through actions which move up the criminal justice chain to prosecute and convict the true beneficiaries of trafficking crimes. It features a detailed set of recommendations to public and private sector stakeholders on the need for a multi-track approach addressing overfishing, IUU fishing and modern slavery in the sector.
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