Working conditions in Thai fishing industry improving but abuses persist, UN report says

Working conditions in Thailand’s fishing and seafood industry are showing improvement but abuses such as forced labour still persist, according to a report.

The 61-page report released on Tuesday by UN’s International Labour Organisation (ILO) compared findings from a similar report two years ago about the state of Thailand’s fishing and seafood industry.

Thai fishing

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“Two years later, the endline survey shows that changes in working conditions are, on the whole, moving in the right direction.

“Despite the positive trends, abuses in the fishing and seafood sector persist, including serious ones such as involuntary work and coercion leading to forced labour,’’ the ILO said.

The report said it surveyed 218 fishermen and 251 seafood processing workers in Thai, Burmese, and Khmer languages for its findings.

The report recommended that the Thai government make adjustments to ensure that it can identify and punish violations around recruitment, wage, hours, safety standards and indications of forced labour.

It also recommended that workers be provided education to better understand Thai labour standards.

Thailand has a history of labour abuses in its fishing and seafood industry.

The European Union (EU) in 2015 gave Thailand a yellow card for not properly tackling illegal fishing, warning that it would ban fishing imports from Thailand if the situation did not improve.

Thailand’s military government responded by introducing new regulations which resulted in the EU’s lifting of the yellow card in January 2019.

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