If the EU pressure continues to convert, the problem of forced labor in the Thai fishing improve. But the EU is considering a revision.
Who catches the fish that is used for the cultivation of prawns in Thailand? The chances are that it is a migrant from Myanmar or Cambodia, that the country had smuggling to try his luck …
Who catches the fish that is used for the cultivation of prawns in Thailand? The chances are that it is a migrant from Myanmar or Cambodia, that the country had smuggling to try his luck.
A new Human Rights Watch report, based on 248 interviews with fishermen and two years of research, paints a staggering picture of modern slavery in the sector. The fishermen beat heavy overtime for less than minimum wage, are being held on their boats by rogue employers and to undergo violence.
Forced labour has long been a problem, but now the Thai economy stronger, to accept only penniless migrants, the poor working conditions.
The problem is not new. After posts from 2014 about slavery, the EU was Thailand a huge blamage: a yellow card. That endorses especially the illegal fishing and not forced labour. But they had no effect at the Thai military junta. The last two years took steps to forced to limit. There are control centers to the ports and temporary id cards – ‘pink cards’ – to undocumented migrants.
‘In the practice improves the lives of the fishermen too few”, says Lotte Leicht, EU director for Human Rights Watch at the presentation of the report. ‘The inspectors see only the track listings instead of by questions on working conditions. The pink cards require the migrant to a single employer. But everyone acknowledges that steps have been taken.’
Leicht makes that the EU is contemplating the yellow card. ‘Instead, the EU wants a “dialogue on employment” with Thailand proposals, probably this spring. If there are sanctions connected to it, that can work. But in the past we have no good impression of such a dialogue, which was often toothless.’
The importation of Thai seafood in the EU is at least 400 million euros worth. The European council of ministers wants a free trade agreement with Thailand to investigate. ‘We want to embed change, then the pressure should remain high. Also for the European fishermen, because they do not stand a chance against this kind of practices.’