Target: Thailand Prime Minister, Yingluck Shinawatra
Goal: Stop pervasive slave labor in Thailand’s fishing industries.
Ever wonder where all that delicious seafood we eat comes from? Thailand is the third largest exporter of seafood next to China and Norway. However, the Thai fishing industry is also the most notorious for practicing deceptive and coercive labor. For example, a Cambodian man named Vannak Prum spent three years out at sea on a fishing boat without pay. He was offered a job “drying fish” by a “recruiter”. Although he was reluctant to accept the sketchy proposition, he succumbed to a horrible decision because he couldn’t find an alternative job. With his wife expecting a new baby, he desperately needed the income. Little did he know this recruiter, was actually a human trafficker working in cooperation with a booming fishing industry. His hopes of taking care of his newborn, became a three year nightmare. He was packed into a truck and transported into Thailand with people that shared a similar experience. They were sold to fish captains as slave labor.
He suffered egregious working conditions while in captivity. This included: 20 hour work days, no medical treatment besides aspirin and amphetamines to keep them working into the night, cramped quarters, and other dangerous working conditions. According to the United Nations Inter-Agency Project on Human Trafficking, interviews of fishermen on Thai fishing boats revealed eye witness accounts of murders committed by the captain of the ship. A staggering 59% of these interviewees had witnessed such a grisly event. One former Thai crewman said, “Years ago, I saw an entire foreign crew shot dead … The boss didn’t want to pay up, so he lined them up on the side of the boat and shot them one by one.” These fishing boats are able to operate at sea for extended periods of time because they receive supplies and fuel at sea. This ability to remain at sea without docking, is the perfect setup for fishing boat businesses to lure desperate people looking for work into de facto slavery. Unfortunately, the Thai government have turned a blind eye to these practices and many police are bribed to also look the other way.
Sign this petition to persuade Thailand Prime Minister, Yingluck Shinawatra to take punitive action against this network of black market, slave labor.
Dear Prime Minister Shinawatra,
This lawlessness at your shores is unacceptable. Honest workers seeking employment are being ruthlessly exploited and in some cases murdered by fishing captains without impunity. According to the US State Department’s “Trafficking in Persons” report your country has ranked among the worst offenders for four consecutive years. It is an embarrassment and a stain to your country’s image for failing to make substantial changes to these egregious human rights violations. It is imperative for your administration to take punitive action against this black market labor that is pervasive in your country.
[Your Name Here]
Image Credit: runran via Flickr