Despite international laws in fisheries sector, slavery still haunts the sector in South East Asia and is of serious concern, according to the latest report of the Green Peace South East Asia.
The report named “ Seabound: The Journey to Modern Slavery on High Seas”, has accused 13 foreign vessels registered in China, Fiji, Taiwan and Vanuatu of labour abuses.
In the report, it has been said that many are lured by false promises of high wages and later find to be cheated by shady employment agencies and brokers. Salary deductions, irregular and non payment of salaries, working at odd hours for little or no pay all emphasis the fact that slavery exists in the fisheries sector.
Dwindling fisheries population is said to force the fishing vessels to go deep into the sea, which is said to increase the possibility of violation and exploitation of fishers. Moreover, the fate of the fishers remain uncertain as the crimes alleged against them usually happen in open sea and there is no witness to any of the things happening out in the mid sea.
Industrial fishing is said to be in the report as the second deadliest profession in the fishing sector. Long work shifts, poor availability/use of protective equipment, physically demanding task, inexperienced crew and high injury all add to the woes in this industry. The report also quotes fishers who say that work conditions such as working hours, food, social insurance and other things promised by the agency were not given. The agencies also levy large processing/placement fees that result in severe losses to the fishers. One worker was even quoted saying that he was asked to sign in a document in a document written in a language that he did not understand.