Over the last three years, EJF’s investigations in Thailand have exposed brutal and systematic abuse of migrant and trafficked workers in this sector.
EJF urges Thailand to take further steps against fishing workers abuse
Friday, June 08, 2018, 00:30 (GMT + 9)
This week Thailand officially ratified the Protocol of 2014 to the Forced Labour Convention, a measure which was welcomed by the organisation Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF).
“Thailand’s ratification of the Forced Labour Convention is a crucial step forward, especially for the country’s fishing and seafood processing industries, which have in the past been notorious for labour rights violations and forced labour cases,” EJF stresses.
Adul Sangsingkeo, Minister of Labour, considered the ratification of the Protocol also demonstrates the Government’s commitments in improving and aligning its national legislative framework with international labour standards.
“The draft Prevention and Elimination of Forced Labour Act which is the organic law that incorporates measures defined in the Protocol, will be instrumental in ensuring that our cooperative endeavours bear concrete results in the elimination of forced labour and further guarantee decent employment opportunities for all workers in our country,” the minister claimed.
However, despite the Thai government’s initiative, which took place at the International Labour Organization (ILO) summit in Geneva, EJF considers that Thailand must also commit to three other conventions concerning working conditions in the fishing industry, the right to organise and collective bargaining.
The NGO has carried out extensive investigations since 2013 and its latest findings reveal that workers are subjected to brutal physical abuse at the hands of their employers, brokers, or other crew members if they did not work hard enough and enforced work for periods of 24 hours or more, often in return for little or no money.
“Our investigations have shown workers suffering atrocious working and living conditions or having their court cases thrown out for lack of valid evidence of forced labour. Thailand has now driven a transformation of its fisheries, ushering in extensive, much needed and highly valuable reforms,” highlighted Steve Trent, EJF executive director.
But he stated that if it is to succeed in securing legal, sustainable and ethical fisheries, it must see the entire process through by committing to eradicate labour abuses and illegal practices at every turn.
Therefore, EJF urges the Royal Thai Government to continue working towards the ratification of the Work in Fishing Convention by September this year.
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