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EJF and other rights groups urge Thai PM to end plan to send prisoners to sea
Jan 15, 2015

EJF and other rights groups urge Thai PM to end plan to send prisoners to sea

By EJF Staff

EJF today, along with over 40 other NGOs and labour associations, sent a letter to the Thai Prime Minister asking the Thai Government to end a pilot project that is seeing Thai prisoners being used to fill labour shortages in the Thai fishing industry.

EJF's investigation into human trafficking in Thailand's fishing industry in early 2014 revealed widespread abuses in the sector.

The Thai prison labour plan would pose a serious threat to the human rights of prisoners while failing to address the underlying causes of labour shortages in the Thai fishing industry, including brutal and inhumane working conditions.

EJF has previously documented the use of forced labour and human trafficking in Thai fisheries in its Sold to the Sea and Slavery At Sea reports. These investigations revealed the continued and systemic exploitation of migrant labour in the Thai fishing industry, fuelled by economic pressures arising from overfishing and weak laws and enforcement further undermined by widespread corruption.

Thailand is the third-largest seafood exporter in the world, with its international reach making human trafficking and exploitation in the sector a serious global issue.

The organisations call for the Thai Government to address labour shortages on Thai fishing vessels by improving working conditions in the industry and ensuring the enforcement of labour laws on fishing boats.

The letter comes six months after Thailand was downgrade to Tier 3 in the US Department of State’s 2014 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report. 

The Thai Government has since backtracked from its initial proposal and is now saying that the scheme is only meant for ex-prisoners.

Read the full letter to the Thai Prime Minster here.

Read the press release here.

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