Tag Archives: Human trafficking

Fishermen Who Fled Slavery in San Francisco Sue Boat Owner

Two Indonesian fishermen who escaped slavery aboard a Honolulu-based tuna and swordfish vessel when it docked at San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf are suing the boat’s owner for tricking them into accepting dangerous jobs they say they weren’t allowed to leave. Attorneys for Abdul Fatah and Sorihin, who uses one name, say in a lawsuit filed in federal court Thursday that they were recruited in Indonesia seven years ago to work in Hawaii’s commercial fishing fleet without realizing they would never be allowed onshore. They have since been issued visas for victims of human trafficking and are living in the San Francisco area. The lawsuit alleges that San Jose, California, resident Thoai Nguyen, owner and captain of the Sea Queen II, forced Sorihin and Fatah to work up to 20-hour shifts, denied them medical treatment and demanded thousands of dollars if they wanted to leave before their contracts expired. Nguyen did not return calls seeking comment. Read the story here 15:05

Fisherman tells Thai court of beer tab that led to years of slavery

Marine policemen inspect papers of migrant workers in Samut Sakhon provinceA fisherman from Myanmar described meeting a job broker while having a beer with a friend in the fishing port town of Kantang in southern Thailand. While chatting with the broker, he passed out drunk, without paying for his beer. Four days later, the broker told him he owed her 2,000 baht ($50) for his unpaid beer and his four-day stay in her home, and would have to work to pay off his debt. He ended up enslaved on a fishing boat, working five years without pay, he told a court in Thailand’s southern Trang province as the proceedings began last week in a human trafficking case against nine defendants. The defendants include the broker, as well as the owner of Boonlarp Fishing Co. Ltd., whom prosecutors say is the chief of the trafficking ring. Read the rest here 12:41

Lawsuit accuses Costco of selling shrimp fed by slave labor

A lawsuit filed Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2015, in San Francisco accuses retail giant Costco of selling giant shrimp that was produced by slave labor in Thailand. The suit seeks a halt to the imports and refunds for California customers. “Costco, as one of the largest companies in the world, is able to dictate the terms by which shrimp are produced and supplied to it,” the suit said. Costco “publicly represents that it does not tolerate human trafficking and slavery in its supply chain,” the suit said, and should be held to its words. No one at Costco was available for comment. Read the rest here 19:4

Thailand arrests 2 alleged brokers who sent slaves onto boats, new regulations take affect

Chayuthphong Charoenporn, 50, and Samruay Chatkrod, 53, hired middlemen to find workers at train stations, bus terminals and other public places, said Lt. Col. Komvich Padhanarath. Komvich said the middlemen would approach men who looked poor and ask them if they wanted jobs and then take them to a shelter where they were sometimes drugged or given alcohol to keep quiet — and then sold to boat owners for 30,000 baht ($900) per person. The laborers were then taken without their consent to fishing boats near Ambon island in Indonesia, he said. Read the rest here 11:12

Migrant boat ‘captain’ accused of sailing 850 people to their deaths is just a lowly ‘nasty good-for-nothing’ deckhand

Passengers aboard Tunisian Mohammed Ali Malek’s doomed 66ft fishing boat were charged up to £1,300 each. It sank killing all but 24 on board in the worst maritime disaster since the Second World War. A simple fishing trawler deckhand who knew the sea well but was hopelessly ill-equipped to captain a boat holding so many people, callous Malek allegedly boasted to fellow fishermen in his hometown of Sfax that he would strike it rich from the trade in migrants desperate to start a new life in Europe. Read the rest here 17:00

US downgrades Thailand, Malaysia and Venezuela on human trafficking

The downgrades could cause some multinational companies to reconsider investments in industries accused of using trafficked labour such as fisheries, a lucrative business in Thailand, the world’s largest exporter of shrimp. Read the rest here 16:02

Human trafficking: Moment of truth arrives for Thailand

This week, the US State Department will unveil its annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report, and the widespread expectation is that Thailand – which has been on the Tier 2 Watch List for the past four years for poor law enforcement – will be dropped to the lowest rung, Tier 3, joining the likes of Cuba, North Korea, Syria, Iran and Zimbabwe. Read more here  10:59