Thai governments, for decades, have never treated the problem of forced labors and other serious allegations against its billion-dollar fishing industry as its primary concerns. Worse still, since the coup in 2014 Thailand’s ruling junta has constantly faced the mounting pressure at home and abroad.
The Thai and Migrant Fishers Union Group (TMFG) is disputing claims by the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) that they are a government- and industry-run organization. The TMFG also took issue with a letter sent by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) to the Thai government, and made apparently mistaken claims that the ILO demanded the TMFG be suspended. On March 18 2018 the Labour Rights Promotion Network (LPN) launched the TMFG in coordination with the Labour Ministry, the National Fisheries As
Thailand has made notable improvements in eradicating human trafficking and forced labour from the fishing industry, according to UN experts.
In an attempt to get the EU yellow card on Thai fishery products lifted, civil society organisations, the private sector and the Labour Ministry have launched a union group of migrants in the fishing industry to increase workers’ bargaining power. On 18 March 2018, the Labour Rights Promotion Network Foundation hosted a ceremony to launch the Thai and Migrant Fisher Union Group (TMFUG).
A provincial court in southern Thailand has sentenced six people, including the President of the Kantang Fishing Association (Trang Province), to 14 years in prison for human trafficking. On 17 March 2017, the Provincial Court of Trang sentenced Sompol Jirotemontree, President of the Kantang Fishery Association and managing partner of Boonlap Fishery Limited Partnership (BFLP), to 14 years in jail for violating the 2008 Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act. Sompol and five other people were indicted for trafficking and abusing 15 migrant workers from Myanmar in 2015.
A provincial court in southern Thailand has dismissed charges of human trafficking filed by Cambodian workers against a Thai fishing boat captain and a fish market owner. On 22 February 2017, the Provincial Court of Ranong read the verdict in a case filed by Ranong public prosecutors against Banjob Kaenkaew, a fishing boat captain, and Somchai Jettanapornsamran, owner of a fish market based in Samut Sakhon.
In recent years, the harsh labor practices and poor living and work conditions of migrants from Cambodia and Myanmar in the fishing and seafood industry in Thailand have received international attention and prompted demands for systemic reform. Photographer Rahman Mahmud’s insights powerfully illustrate the Cambodian migrant children, women and men who sustain the industry with their exploited labor. In his words: “I have spent hours during the day in a fishing pier.
Greenpeace’s 12-month long investigation exposes the activities of Thailand’s rogue overseas fishing fleets, the companies behind them and their supply chain connections to export markets including Australia, the US and Europe.
The European Commission has today put Thailand on formal notice for not taking sufficient measures in the international fight against illegal fishing (IUU). As a result of a thorough analysis and a series of discussions with Thai authorities since 2011, the Commission has denounced the country's shortcomings in its fisheries monitoring, control and sanctioning systems and concludes that Thailand is not doing enough.
The European Union is to impose sanctions on fishery products from Thailand if the Thai junta does not make efforts to eradicate illegal fishing. According to the BBC Thai Service, the European Union (EU) plans to announce that it will give the Thai government six months to come up with concrete policies to tackle illegal fishing and overfishing in the region.