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LONDON: More than a third of migrant fishermen in Thailand clearly were victims of trafficking over the past five years and even more workers in the industry were possibly trafficked as well, according to a report published on Thursday.

Routinely underpaid and physically abused, three-quarters of migrants working on Thai fishing vessels have been in debt bondage, working to pay off an obligation, said the study by the anti-trafficking group International Justice Mission (IJM) and the Bangkok-based Issara Institute, an anti-trafficking NGO.

(IJM’s website is here and the Issara Institute’s is here. The report cited in this story can be read and downloaded here or [PDF link] here.

Thailand’s multi-billion dollar seafood sector came under fire in recent years after investigations showed widespread slavery, trafficking and violence on fishing boats and in onshore food processing factories.

The politically unstable country, which is under military rule, has vowed to crack down on trafficking and recently introduced reforms to its fisheries law.

 

 

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