“More than 2,000 enslaved fishermen rescued in 6 months”

“More than 2,000 fishermen have been rescued this year from brutal conditions at sea, liberated as a result of an Associated Press investigation into seafood brought to the U.S. from a slave island in eastern Indonesia…
Many experts believe the most effective pressure for change can come from consumers, whose hunger for cheap seafood is helping fuel the massive labor abuses. Southeast Asia’s fishing industry is dominated by Thailand, which earns $7 billion annually in exports. The business relies on tens of thousands of poor migrant laborers, mainly from neighboring Southeast Asian countries. They often are tricked, sold or kidnapped and put onto boats that are commonly sent to distant foreign waters to poach fish… Many of those leaving recently from Ambon were handed cash payments by company officials, but they said the money was a fraction of what they were owed.
An AP survey of almost 400 men underscores the horrific conditions fishing slaves faced. Many described being whipped with stingray tails, deprived of food and water and forced to work for years without pay. More than 20 percent said they were beaten, 30 percent said they saw someone else beaten and 12 percent said they saw a person die…
almost all come back empty-handed, struggle to find jobs and feel they are yet another burden to their extremely poor families… Even with the increased global attention, hundreds of thousands of men still are forced to work in the seafood industry.”
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