ILO in Asia and the Pacific
Chiang Mai (Agenzia Fides) - From informed sources we learn that: "in Thailand there are increasingly numerous testimonies of extreme slavery carried out on illegal fishing vessels that have not docked at a port for years but exchange and personnel products in international waters to escape controls". Since last April, when the US gave the Thai government an ultimatum, in order to establish minimum standard rules on the methods of fishing on vessels, not many progresses have been made.
"The allegation of illegal fishing in the territorial waters of others, fishing methods not at all sustainable, and above all, use of slave labor in the fishing industry, was already analyzed by several organizations in defense of human rights. From April 2015 to January 2016 some measures were taken in the fight against corruption, human trafficking (mainly Burmese and Rohinja), with regards to the control of permits for the functioning of fish industries. However the United States, at the end of this month, will issue the verdict on whether to continue to import shrimp and Thai fish. Europe also joined the protest and the threat of boycott. The government defends the vastness and complexity of the phenomenon and the short time granted to regularize the industry".
"Despite the obvious, detailed evidence of culpability of the authorities, also reported by some military who then applied for asylum in Australia, does not take the gravity of the problem seriously, which affects not only one of the word economic fundamentals of Thailand, after tourism, but that is interwoven with a network of trafficking of slaves, of mass graves, in violation of international agreements and non-compliance with the standards required by the fish market". The State has ordered the closure of certain illegal seizure of boats without permits, and promised to combat physical abuse on people, as well as creating the 'Command Center to Combat Illegal Fishing' (CCCIF). (AP) (Agenzia Fides 26/01/2016)