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Prison Labor in Thai Fisheries

January 16, 2015

16b327bAlberto Romero-Bermo, Director of Fisheries & Sustainability at Lumar Seafood International, has put up a really nice blog on LinkedIn. It covers the Thai government’s decision to pilot the use of prison labor to solve its slave labor problem. Alberto points out that this is quite likely no better, and suggests that seafood companies should avoid buying prison labor-supported fisheries products.

The Thai government’s response to such a tragic and delicate issue has not been to solve those human rights violations but rather to solve the problem of its private fishing industry—not by eliminating criminally abusive practices—but instead by providing prison labor to fill jobs in that same inhuman fishing industry. This is not sci-fi; this is true.

I hope, like Alberto, that a broad coalition of NGOs and western governments can pressure Thailand to repeal this new policy and begin to tackle the real underlying labor issues.

Over 40 NGOs have written to the Thai government yesterday in an effort to stop these fishing prison camps. I read this letter to the Thai government in International Labor Rights Forum. It is a clear, strong and convincing plea to that government to stop prison labor in fishing vessels. We certainly hope that the Thai government takes heed of the NGOs’ advice.

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