Post by Krishnadev Calamur, Parallels at NPR Food (9/3/13)
If you eat fish on a regular basis, chances are some of it is coming from Thailand. The Asian country is the world's No. 3 exporter of seafood (after China and Norway), and the U.S. is its top destination.
The Thai fishing industry has grown dramatically, and it is now coming under increased scrutiny. A new report details "deceptive and coercive labor practices, and even forced labor and human trafficking within" the Thai fishing sector.
The allegations are not new. An NPR story from June 2012 cited the example of one Cambodian who spent three years confined to a Thai fishing boat. A Global Post series from last year chronicled what it called "seafood slavery." And in May, the Environmental Justice Foundation said Thailand is doing little to prevent the abuses.
Thailand's fishing industry relies heavily on migrant workers from Cambodia and Burma — many of them undocumented. The new report, jointly released Monday by the International Labor Organization and the Asian Research Center for Migration at Chulalongkorn University, is the largest-ever conducted on the subject, surveying about 600 people who work on Thai boats in national and international waters.